Categories
NFL News

Preseason OT watch list for the 2022 NFL Draft includes Evan Neal, Charles Cross, and Nicholas Petit-Frere.

The last two NFL Draft classes have been the answer to a league’s prayers for young, talented offensive lineman performance, with eight tackles taken in the top 20 picks.
Will the 2022 class continue this pattern at a position where numerous teams have a critical need?
Possibilities
The top five offensive tackles on this list aren’t the most well-known players, but they all have the potential to be first-round picks in April if they keep improving.
(Note: The asterisk denotes draft-eligible freshmen.)
NFL teams keep heights and weights on file for each player, which may differ from school rosters.) 1
*Evan Neal, Alabama (6-7, 357) Greatest Trait: Unusual size/moves There aren’t many players in the NFL or college who have Neal’s blend of natural size, flexibility, and movements.

Categories
NFL News

According of COVID-19 procedures, the Minnesota Vikings have named Phil Rauscher as their new offensive line coach; Rick Dennison remains with the organization.

Rick Dennison was fired as a Vikings assistant coach after refusing to take the COVID vaccine, according to Michael Eaves.
Would more NFL coaches choose unemployment over vaccines? (1:49)
(1:49) The Minnesota Vikings announced on Tuesday that Phil Rauscher will take over as offensive line coach from Rick Dennison this season.
Dennison, who has not been inoculated against COVID-19, will continue to serve as a senior offensive adviser for the team.
The squad has also hired Ben Steele as an assistant offensive line coach.
Dennison had been ruled out by ESPN on Friday because he hadn’t been vaccinated, but the Vikings later indicated they were in talks with him about the NFL’s COVID-19 guidelines.
Dennison has spent the previous two seasons as the Vikings’ offensive line coach and run-game coordinator.
All Tier 1 employees, including coaches, front-office executives, equipment managers, and scouts, must receive the vaccine.
Players are not forced to obtain the COVID-19 vaccination, but they will be subjected to tight measures during training camp and during the season, which those who have been vaccinated will be able to avoid.
Any unvaccinated Tier 1 staff member must demonstrate a valid religious or medical reason for not obtaining the vaccine, according to a document distributed by the NFL last summer.
Coaches who lose their Tier 1 designation are barred from being on the field, in conference rooms, or having direct dealings with players.
Courtney Cronin of ESPN contributed to this story.

Categories
NFL News

Rick Dennison, a Vikings assistant, will return to the team.

After reaching an deal with Minnesota to serve as senior offensive advisor, assistant coach Rick Dennison will return to the Vikings, the organization announced on Tuesday.
The Vikings also announced that Phil Rauscher will take over as offensive line coach and Ben Steele will serve as an offensive line assistant coach.
Dennison is no longer with the club, according to a source who told The Athletic last week that he refused to obtain the COVID-19 vaccine.
Dennison, who is still under contract, is thought to be the first NFL position coach to resign because he refused to be vaccinated.
Tier 1 individuals, such as coaches, are required to receive the vaccine.
Vaccination is not required, however unvaccinated athletes are subjected to tougher standards during training camp and during the season.
Tier 1 individuals, except athletes, should be vaccinated, according to the NFL, unless they have a medical or religious exemption.
Workers who decline immunization for any reason will not be eligible for Tier 1 status and will be unable to work with players directly.
Dennison has won three Super Bowls with the New York Jets, Buffalo Bills, Baltimore Ravens, Houston Texans, and Denver Broncos during his 25-year NFL coaching tenure.

Categories
NFL News

Rick Dennison has been fired as a Minnesota Vikings assistant coach after refusing the COVID-19 vaccine, according to sources.

Dan Graziano talks about the benefits of having a majority of your players immunized.
EAGAN, Minn. (1:48)
Rick Dennison has been fired as a Minnesota Vikings assistant coach after refusing to obtain a COVID-19 vaccine, according to ESPN.
Dennison, who spent the previous two seasons as the Vikings’ offensive line coach/run game coordinator, is believed to be the first NFL position coach to leave his organization after refusing to obtain a vaccine.
All Tier 1 employees, including coaches, front-office executives, equipment managers, and scouts, must receive the vaccine.
Players are not forced to obtain the COVID-19 vaccination, but they will be subjected to tight measures during training camp and during the season, which those who have been vaccinated will be able to avoid.
Any unvaccinated Tier 1 staff member must demonstrate a valid religious or medical reason for not obtaining the vaccine, according to a document released by the NFL earlier this summer.
Coaches who lose their Tier 1 designation are barred from being on the field, in conference rooms, or having direct dealings with players.
According to ESPN, Phil Rauscher has been promoted from assistant offensive line coach to fill Dennison’s role.
Ben Steele, who had recently been hired by Auburn as a special-teams analyst, was also hired by the Vikings to fill the position Rauscher had held since 2019.
Dennison’s retirement comes at a critical moment for the Vikings offense, which will be led by Klint Kubiak, who was promoted this offseason to take over for his father, Gary, as offensive coordinator for the 2020 season.
Dennison, who has 27 years of NFL coaching expertise, was seen as a key component in bridging the gap for the younger Kubiak, given his significant experience calling run plays and familiarity of the Vikings’ scheme since the start of the 2019 season.
In 2020, the Vikings were one of the league’s most prolific running teams, led by Dalvin Cook, who became the first player in Minnesota history to dash for 1,500 yards and 15 touchdowns in a single season.
According to ESPN Stats & Information, Cook accounted for 30.5% of the Vikings’ scrimmage yards in 2020, which was second in the NFL behind Derrick Henry (33.8).
Dennison worked with Gary Kubiak in Denver (1995-2009, 2015-16), Houston (2010-13), and Baltimore (2014) for more than three decades.
Dennison was the offensive line coach/run game coordinator for the New York Jets for the 2018 season before joining the Vikings in 2019.
After joining the Vikings in 2020, Rauscher is in his eighth season as a head coach in the NFL.
He worked with Dennison on the Broncos’ coaching staff in 2015 and 2016, and in 2019 he was the offensive line coach for the Washington Redskins.
From 2001 until 2007, Steele was a tight end on numerous NFL rosters, including in Houston under Gary Kubiak.
He began his NFL career in 2013 as an offensive quality control coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where he remained until 2016.
Steele eventually became the Buccaneers’ tight ends coach before joining the Atlanta Falcons as an offensive assistant in 2019 and tight ends coach in 2020.
Auburn hired him earlier this year.
On Wednesday, the Vikings will begin their first training camp session.

Categories
NFL News

The first concern at Steelers training camp is whether the offensive line will be the team’s undoing.

The Steelers might have the greatest defense in the NFL — and, for the record, they could have the best defense in the NFL — and it wouldn’t matter. They could have a room full of extremely gifted offensive weapons, a fully healthy Ben Roethlisberger, a new and imaginative offensive coordinator in Matt Canada, and a reinvigorated desire to play physical football up front, and it wouldn’t matter if the offense couldn’t score.
It’s closer to the truth than you might think.