Report: Rick Dennison out as Vikings assistant coach after refusing COVID-19 vaccine

Minnesota Vikings v Buffalo Bills
Getty Images

Vikings assistant coach Rick Dennison has reportedly lost his job because he refused to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Dennison, who had been the Vikings’ offensive line coach/run game coordinator the past two seasons, parted ways with the team, according to Courtney Cronin of ESPN. The report does not specifically call Dennison’s departure a firing, although that’s what it sounds like.

The NFL is requiring Tier 1 staff — the people in closest contact with players, such as coaches and equipment managers — to get vaccinated. Players cannot be forced to get vaccinated.

The Vikings are promoting assistant offensive line coach Phil Rauscher to fill Dennison’s position, and adding former Auburn assistant coach Ben Steele to take Rauscher’s position.

Dennison is a 27-year veteran of NFL coaching.

142 responses to “Report: Rick Dennison out as Vikings assistant coach after refusing COVID-19 vaccine

  1. Absolutely ridiculous, I can’t believe how American citizens are having their rights trampled upon, we have turned into nothing more than a Banana Republic.

  2. Good. He might cry “but what about my freedom.” I say, cow cookies. He doesn’t have the freedom to endanger other people. While I’m a licensed driver, I don’t have the freedom to go 70 mph through a school zone at play time. Getting vaccinated is a matter of public safety and public health. Dennison is free not to get vaccinated, but the business he works for is also free to protect its interests, including firing people who endanger players and staff. Simple, really.

  3. Furiously refreshing Cole Beasley’s Twitter, can’t wait for his take on this

  4. How can it be a firing if it’s required by the NFL? Dennison made his choice, which he certainly has the right to do, but he has to accept the consequences.

  5. That noise you hear is the popcorn in the microwave. This is just the beginning and it’s going to get messy. I suspect we’ll see a lot of lawsuits over the next couple seasons.

  6. He had the right to choose not to get the shot.
    The team had the right to choose not to employ him.

  7. Commend this man for standing up for what he believes in and his freedoms in this country. Selling out your principles for a paycheck is what most would do. Not pro or anti vax but I’m just saying this guy has integrity.

  8. Any coach making it difficult for their team to succeed deserves to be shown the door. Dennison made his choice. He’s not a martyr or a victim. Don’t treat him as such.

  9. It’s discrimination, plain and simple. You people celebrating this new medical tryanny are ridiculous.

  10. Businesses can require employees to get vaccinated. The employees have the choice to follow the rules or find a new job.

    Given the new NFL rules that would have a team possible forfeit a game if there is a COVID outbreak, I understand why the Viking are doing this.

    Cases are going up…people are dying…and virtually every COVID death is with unvaccinated people.

  11. The NFL isn’t stopping for anyone. Not when there’s a vaccine available.. We can’t afford to shut down our country just because some people can’t comply. It’s a free country, and I’m sure this coach can afford to sit out for a while until everyone gets vaccinated, and we can fully open back up for business. Freedom is a two way street. You can quit coming to work if you choose. There are lots of people ready to step in. No hard feelings. Freedom is awesome!

  12. With the recent offensive line play for the Vikings, this could be a blessing in disguise.

  13. As a former military service member who received so many shots I’ve lost track, I’m LMAO at the anti-vaxers and those who feel their rights are being trampled on by being required to get the vaccine.

    If the vaccine is the “hill he picked to die on” I have no sympathy for him as it’s a ridiculous decision given the outcome.

    D.U.M.B.

  14. So….when I was a kid we had a polo outbreak and my grade school, this was back in 70-71. We all lined up, those who didn’t get vaccinated were not allowed to attend classes. Teams make the rules, they are your employer and they have that right.

    You go into the any branch of the military you have to be up to date with all vaccinations in the first week of boot camp. You have to be updated on your vaccinations before being deployed.

    By not being vaccinated he is not only putting the overall teams health at risk but any opponents the Vikings play.

    I wouldn’t except anything less from a ME ME ME its all about me society we currently live in.

    We vaccinated because my wife is fighting lung cancer and had a lung removed back in February. We still have to be very vigilant because even the variant would kill her. I’m just waiting for the first case of someone getting Covid infecting another who is vaccinated because they were not vaccinated and legal litigation against the non vaccinator.

    Hit the brick pal, you’re not entitled the sooner some of you all figure that out we can all wipe this out.

  15. No one forced him to take the vaccine. His “freedoms” are completely intact.

  16. Dennison should have been fired last year for performance. It’s very possible this is the excuse they were looking for.

  17. It’s his personal choice to put his needs above the team. If I was the HC I would fire him too. The point of being employed as a coach is to help your team win. If your ego is more important and u are hurting the team, u have to go.

  18. yaz67 says:
    July 23, 2021 at 2:13 pm

    Good for Rick. Nice to see someone with a spine in the NFL.

    —–
    You mean OUT of the NFL.

  19. Sorry, but as a Broncos fan, the Vikings are about to get an upgrade at OL coach.

  20. Welcome to the future. It’s not just about you. Along with personal freedom comes personal responsibility. How this became political boggles my mind. Science is true whether you believe it or not. Study and change are part of science. It is fluid. That’s how it works.

  21. thesnakestabler says:
    July 23, 2021 at 2:02 pm
    Absolutely ridiculous, I can’t believe how American citizens are having their rights trampled upon, we have turned into nothing more than a Banana Republic
    ////////
    Tell us how you feel about wearing a seatbelt. Because that’s the law. This is not. One only protects you. The other protects everybody’s health.

  22. A man standing up for his principles.. of being an uninformed, selfish person who doesn’t care about the players and coaches and staff around him. The Vikings are now relieved of having such an ethical and financial liability in the building.

  23. I work in a large office that is requiring it’s employees to be vaccinated to return to the office. We also have the option to work from home, vaccinated/not vaccinated. It is every employers right to make their own guidelines for dealing with this pandemic. If you don’t want to play along then move along.

  24. This is a lawsuit. Regardless of whether you believe people should be vaccinated, there was no employment requirement from the NFL or it’s teams to be vaccinated. He’s going to get lots of money, and rightfully so.

  25. Private business they make the rules not the employees who said the world was fair anyway….get vaccinated.

  26. Get used to it. Coaching is a privilege, not a right. Anti-vaxxers are in for a rude awakening when they can’t do things because they are a threat to others. He deserved to get canned.

  27. “The NFL is requiring Tier 1 staff — the people in closest contact with players, such as coaches and equipment managers” — It is a league requirement not a team issue. The league has decided that with billions on the line, and a fairly obvious fix to head off the problem, they are mandating where they can. With players, they can’t mandate, but they sure did make it miserable for those who refuse. With coaches, wihout a union to step in and say otherwise, it is an easy choice for the NFL. If you want the job you do what you are told. Since when is this new?

  28. Another Kool-Aide drinking idiot! Let’s talk about rights. Society has a right to NOT be put in danger from those that refuse to be vaccinated. Covid will be extinguished when we get as many people vaccinated as possible and those that refuse are keeping it alive. A lot of these folks like to talk about Darwin’s survival of the fittest but what they fail to realize is that it incudes intelligence. Good for the Vikings!

  29. Crazy. This country is going insane.
    I’ve already told my boss if he requires it, I quit. I doubt he will. But I’ve already put out my intention.

  30. ghjjf says:
    July 23, 2021 at 1:57 pm
    Smart move by the Vikings.

    ——————————-

    See how far they get. Meaningless.

  31. Employers do not willingly tolerate employee actions that are detrimental to the success of the business.

  32. Good for him – my first stop would be to an attorney’s office. In fact I’d gather some NFL friends and make it a class action employment lawsuit.
    Stop the madness

  33. Personally, I’m more interested in hearing why he refused to be vaccinated, than I am in judging his decision.

  34. It’s probably more dangerous to put McDonald’s food into your body than the vaccine. What’s the problem?

  35. Freedom of choice doesn’t mean freedom of consequences.

    You don’t have to take the COVID-19 vaccine, but if you don’t this could happen to you, at a corporate entity.

  36. Anyone ever hear of this place called Sweden? No lockdowns, no mask mandates and now zero covid deaths.

  37. Every job should be this way we have pampered these babies long enough get vaccinated or get fired your choice you all want choices well you got it !

  38. jmuscia says:
    July 23, 2021 at 2:57 pm
    Good for him – my first stop would be to an attorney’s office. In fact I’d gather some NFL friends and make it a class action employment lawsuit.
    Stop the madness

    ————————

    lol. No attorney would take it. The courts have ruled on this one but I’m sure your “special” and they will overlook the law for you.

  39. “ You will obey and conform or else lose your job.”

    Welcome to the real world pal.

  40. For the “this is a lawsuit” crowd, it’s beyond reasonable thought to think the team didn’t review this decision and his contract extensively with their legal team before making the move, especially considering the current environment.

  41. I would think any reasonable employer would fire someone this dumb. I mean how can someone with such a low IQ even help the team?

  42. We need to go back to the standards of holding people accountable for their actions. KUDOS to the Vikings organization. Putting people’s lives at risk is not acceptable in any shape, fashion or form. PERIOD.

  43. tatum02400 says:
    July 23, 2021 at 2:44 pm
    Good for Rick Dennison. His body, his choice.
    ———————————————–
    It’s the Vikings choice retain him as an employee as well so good for the Vikings as well.

  44. This should be a good early indicator of what the players can expect. Good for the Vikings on getting it started.

  45. Why is it a requirement for the coaches but not the players? All or none I say

  46. How are you endangering people if they already have the vaccine? The only person your endangering is yourself lol

  47. Brian Grayson says:

    July 23, 2021 at 3:15 pm
    You will obey and conform or else lose your job.

    You live in a society. You obey and conform all day, every day.

  48. So the staff can be mandated, but the players can’t? Sounds like the staffs/coaches need to unionize, too.

  49. Minnesota is an “at will” employment state. Employers can fire you for almost any reason at all without recourse.

    If you dont understand what that means, google it.

  50. Good. You don’t get to endanger the lives of others. Hopefully this will set an example for others.

  51. That’s some fantastic anti-science policy Goodell & company have come up with – that COVID-19 has developed AI and can distinguish between a “Tier-1” employee and a player. It has to be one or the other. It’s almost like money is something to do with it.

  52. Whelp, so much for my body my choice.

    ___

    He CHOSE not to vaccinated. No one forced him to get the shot.
    The Vikings CHOSE not to retain his services.

    Everybody got a choice in the matter.

  53. “Good. You don’t get to endanger the lives of others. Hopefully this will set an example for others.”

    If you’re vaccinated & safe, how does he endanger you or anyone else who is vaccinated?

  54. KCFinfan says:
    July 23, 2021 at 1:59 pm
    I’ll quit my job if it’s required.
    ————————————

    That is your right. As is your employers right (assuming private company) to fire you for not getting it.

  55. You are hired to help a team win. If you arent doing that, or if your helping isnt enough to justify your pay, then so long.

  56. The guy can’t even be bothered to help protect the lives of his own family and loved ones, let alone the players the team is counting on. If all of that is less important then avoiding getting the jab, you’re not worth much as a coach or otherwise.

  57. Do you research folks. Look in places other than Google. Mr. Dennison just maybe smarter than any of you.

  58. No deaths in Sweden? Now THAT’S a lie! The Swedish way ended-up being a disaster and they have more than double the numbers of their Scandinavian neighbours.

  59. The cognitive dissonance of Trumpers:

    “They’re employees. If they don’t stand for the National Anthem, then fire them!”

    “Employers can’t make you get a vaccination. You have rights!”

  60. We never had the freedom to do anything we want. Laws and business requirements exist to protect others, us from ourselves, and from harm of or reputation of a business. Laws that set alcohol limits to drive, cannot yell fire in a crowded theater, teachers have conduct clauses, ect. Why do a number of people all of a sudden feel they have freedoms that affect others.

  61. It’s amazing that this country spends about $150,000 per child on public education, and yet, here we are with a significant amount of the population doesn’t even understand the basics of “rights” and “freedom.”

    News flash people, Fox News talking heads lie to you every single day of the week.

    We flushed money down the toilet.

  62. Good for the Vikings. Why risk players’ health or forfeiting games due to one person. Don’t like the rules, there is the door!

  63. theunwoketruth says:
    July 23, 2021 at 5:11 pm

    all this fuss over a common cold virus….. smh

    610,000 Americans would like to downvote your comment, but they’re, you know – dead.

  64. When players of color were protesting you folks said playing in the NFL is a privilege not a right. Are we back to it being a right now because it fits your political beliefs?

  65. For those that say
    “If you’re vaccinated & safe, how does he endanger you or anyone else who is vaccinated?”
    Here is my response — Those that are not vaccinated continue to spread the virus. As it spreads it mutates and can become more deadly. There is a chance that a new vibrant is no longer protected by our current vaccines and we start this whole mess all over again. Why because too many would not make simple sacrifices to end this nightmare.

  66. jerry292 says:
    July 23, 2021 at 2:50 pm
    Crazy. This country is going insane.
    I’ve already told my boss if he requires it, I quit. I doubt he will. But I’ve already put out my intention.

    And if you leave, there will prob be a dozen resumes for you opening the first hour they post your position.

    I find in interesting that the people who tend to be biggest lovers of pure capitalism get so angry about an employer operating freely

  67. No wonder the Vikings always lose. We finally found out why. Their coaches have little intelligence

  68. I have no problem with an unapproved vaccine as long as citizens retain the rights to sue the pharmaceutical companies and others for a bad reaction. If people are expected to be responsible then so are the ones pushing the vaccine.

  69. You are allowed to have stupid opinions. That is part of our freedom. You are also allowed to say no to something your employer requires. This is part of our freedom. The employer is allowed to fire you if you say no. This is a part of our freedom. His rights aren’t being trampled upon, because the government is not forcing him to get a shot. There are any number of employers who don’t require vaccines. This is is his prerogative to work for one of them.

  70. primalnumber says:
    July 23, 2021 at 5:26 pm
    theunwoketruth says:
    July 23, 2021 at 5:11 pm

    all this fuss over a common cold virus….. smh

    610,000 Americans would like to downvote your comment, but they’re, you know – dead.

    ———-

    And 90% of them are over the age of 75

  71. I would guess you are lucky that you have not lost someone close to you or someone you loved … otherwise you would not make a comment like that. Who cares exactly what age. Most that age fought wars and made huge sacrifices for the freedoms you have today.

  72. Maybe the anti-vaxxers can’t read because if they could, EVERY COURT CASE, AND I MEAN EVERY, has sided with the employer’s right to make employees get vaccinated or you’re fired. Simple concept except for the illiterate liars on the Radical Right

  73. “Anyone ever hear of this place called Sweden? No lockdowns, no mask mandates and now zero covid deaths.”

    14,615 Swedes unavailable to disagree with your comment due to being dead from coronavirus. Their death rate of 1438 per 1M people is not exactly zero deaths, and they have an increase of 50% in cases compared to 1 month ago.

    So, you know, much like in the USA.

  74. I find in interesting that the people who tend to be biggest lovers of pure capitalism get so angry about an employer operating freely

    _____

    THIS! Exactly this. So hypocritical and they dont even know it.

  75. Oh the horror! The Vikings have had an awful O line for a while now. This guy leaving is a blessing! Give the next guy a try, he can’t do any worse.

  76. The vaccines have had more testing than any other drug in history. SO if you take any drugs, they are less safe than the vaccines.

    If you drink alcohol, please don’t argue that vaccines are not safe.

  77. 610,000 Americans would like to downvote your comment, but they’re, you know – dead.

    ———-

    And 90% of them are over the age of 75

    ——

    So their lives didnt matter? Is that what you’re saying?

  78. “While I’m a licensed driver, I don’t have the freedom to go 70 mph through a school zone at play time.”

    Nobody on earth has to have a license to use a car. Try again fool.

  79. Can someone please tell me when did the FDA approved the vaccine? Oh, right they didn’t. So essentially we’re being experimented on.
    No accountability for BIG PHARMACY if someone gets sick and dies due to complications for the vaccine. I’m all for it if the proper protocols for vaccines were done. But the CORPORATE WORLD was losing money so BIG GOVERNMENT circumvented SOP so now ppl get upset because others are being cautious about what is being put into their bodies. I thought this was a cure. Apparently, not.
    But if I lose wages or am hospitalized because MY body has a severely adverse reaction to the vaccine, then I have NO LEGAL RECOURSE to recoup my losses. How is that right?

  80. These clowns claim that they’ll take a bullet for their country, but they can’t handle a needle for the families and neighbors.

  81. And to complete my thought on the matter the vaccine wasn’t produced with public health in mind but to get CORPORATE America back making money.

  82. Came for the stupidity in the comments, was not disappointed! What are the odds some of these anti-vax knuckleheads catch a case? You should be refused medical attention if you chose to refuse the vaccine.

  83. Can someone please tell me when did the FDA approved the vaccine? Oh, right they didn’t. So essentially we’re being experimented on.
    No accountability for BIG PHARMACY if someone gets sick and dies due to complications for the vaccine. I’m all for it if the proper protocols for vaccines were done. But the CORPORATE WORLD was losing money so BIG GOVERNMENT circumvented SOP so now ppl get upset because others are being cautious about what is being put into their bodies. I thought this was a cure. Apparently, not.
    But if I lose wages or am hospitalized because MY body has a severely adverse reaction to the vaccine, then I have NO LEGAL RECOURSE to recoup my losses. How is that right?

    ____

    Sounds to me like you want a healthcare for all type program AND time off policies that are on par with most civilized countries around the world.

    You wouldnt have any medical bills and if you were out of work due to he virus you’d still get paid….

  84. NIH helped China find and “research” these viruses in the first place, and now they blame the rest of us. Incredible.

  85. Why did friend have to sign a Waiver of Accountability before getting his shot(s)?
    What is Big Pharma afraid of?

  86. jerry292 says:
    July 23, 2021 at 2:50 pm
    Crazy. This country is going insane.
    I’ve already told my boss if he requires it, I quit. I doubt he will. But I’ve already put out my intention.

    ———————–

    Go ahead and quit now. You can be replaced, and your replacement will definitely have more sense than you currently do.

  87. footballpat says:
    July 23, 2021 at 5:38 pm
    When players of color were protesting you folks said playing in the NFL is a privilege not a right. Are we back to it being a right now because it fits your political beliefs?

    ——————————

    Great point. Your question will go un answered.

  88. The NFL is setting the tone for employment with them. This is not about vaccinations. Its not about health. Its about the NFL making money on people/athletes who are not subject to disease. So their business can thrive. They lost so much money last year dealing with this, they wont do it again when the vaccine works! A very sound and aggressive business model.

  89. If you are sick or die from the flu or pneumonia, you are listed in the covid tally. That’s how it works. It’s unscientific and irresponsible. It’s also unethical to force an experimental vaccine upon anyone.
    People say they trust the CDC while never going to their site.
    The PIC count is used by the CDC. P for pneumonia, I=Influenza and C is covid.
    If you test positive for C and die of a heart attack, you’re listed as a covid death. Facts

  90. The fact that the CDC includes Pneumonia and Influenza into their covid count is not only unscientific, it’s irresponsible.

  91. Hello everyone. This is NOT a vaccine. It is an ‘experimental drug / gene therapy via RNA editing’. Don’t believe me? Go read the paper work and then tell me the ingredients. It can’t be published because it’s hasn’t been approved by FDA and therefore is ‘experimental’. Negative side effects is prion disease, palsy, nervous system damage, enlarged heart, cardio respiratory disease, etc…

    Wait until the season starts. I predict at least one player, who has been vaccinated twice, will not finish the game due to some respiratory complication.

  92. And as far as they people spreading the virus ask the Yankees. All vaccinated…. All have COVID!!!!

  93. What the NFL did was dodge the headache of being the ones to tell guys to get it done. Instead they created a situation that forces the teams to play the heavy here.

  94. The absolute and total sign of stupidity. Losing you job over a drug that could save your life or keep you from having a pipe shoved down your throat. What a moron.

  95. tmodule says:
    July 23, 2021 at 8:59 pm
    Hello everyone. This is NOT a vaccine. It is an ‘experimental drug / gene therapy via RNA editing’.

    ——–

    WRONG! it appears you are confusing RNA therapies, used to treat genetic diseases, with mRNA therapies, which do not affect or interact with our DNA (genetic material) in any way.
    in mRNA vaccines like Moderna or Pfizer, the mRNA does not enter the nucleus of cells, where the DNA is located.

    mRNA vaccines teach our cells how to make a protein—or even just a piece of a protein—that triggers an immune response inside our bodies.
    COVID-19 mRNA vaccines give instructions for our cells to make a harmless piece of what is called the “spike protein.” The spike protein is found on the surface of the virus that causes COVID-19. After the protein piece is made, the cell breaks down the instructions and gets rid of them. Next, the cell displays the protein piece on its surface. Our immune systems recognize that the protein doesn’t belong there and begin building an immune response and making antibodies, like what happens in natural infection against COVID-19. At the end of the process, our bodies have learned how to protect against future infection.

    mRNA vaccines do not edit genetic material.

  96. Houston will hire him and charlatan Jack Easterby will serve as a Faith Healer for the player’s and coach’s

  97. doesn’t matter which side you believe. it’s a business decision and it’s their business

  98. ninersapologist says:
    July 23, 2021 at 2:11 pm
    Commend this man for standing up for what he believes in and his freedoms in this country. Selling out your principles for a paycheck is what most would do. Not pro or anti vax but I’m just saying this guy has integrity.
    ___________

    Nah, he’s simply a moron. If he had any integrity he would make the wise decision to protect not only himself but also everyone around him.

  99. nhpats2011 says:
    July 23, 2021 at 5:52 pm
    primalnumber says:
    July 23, 2021 at 5:26 pm
    theunwoketruth says:
    July 23, 2021 at 5:11 pm

    all this fuss over a common cold virus….. smh

    610,000 Americans would like to downvote your comment, but they’re, you know – dead.

    ———-

    And 90% of them are over the age of 75
    _____________

    Pure rubbish. And even if this were true, I guess you believe that lives of those 75+ don’t matter.

  100. coug111 says:
    July 23, 2021 at 3:11 pm
    Anyone ever hear of this place called Sweden? No lockdowns, no mask mandates and now zero covid deaths.

    LOL, what? Sweden is 6th WORST of all 45 European countries in covid cases per 100,000 pop. Jeez man, use the world wide web to do some research!

  101. I was calling for his firing last year since our O-line play has been poor under his tutelage. I’m sure Zim had him on a hot seat since he changes coaches like he changes shirts. Dennison just decided not to go through the year with an axe over his head. COVID mandates are a convenient excuse.
    SKOL!

  102. How does this guy keep getting work? he’s so antiquated in his offensive scheming. Vikes will probably be better.

  103. discrimination lawsuit. The NFL will loose. You cant fire someone for refusing to take an emergency use only authorization vaccine that has been proven (VARS database) to potentially cause harmful side effects and/or death to some recipients.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.