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Dennison to Remain on Vikings Staff; Rauscher Promoted to OL Coach & Team Hires Steele


EAGAN, Minn. —Rick Dennison, who spent the past two seasons as the team's offensive line coach and run game coordinator, and the Vikings have agreed to terms on a deal that will keep Dennison on Minnesota's coaching staff.

Dennison now has the title of Senior Offensive Advisor. He will work virtually as a consultant, per the agreement that was reached Tuesday.

Phil Rauscher is now the Vikings offensive line coach after being the assistant under Dennison in 2020. Minnesota also hired Ben Steele to be the new assistant offensive line coach.

The Vikings announced the moves Tuesday, a day before Minnesota's first full-team practice of U.S. Bank Vikings Training Camp.

Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman and Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer confirmed the changes in a pre-camp press conference, saying they wanted to find a way Dennison could continue to help the team and apply his decades of experience.

The role change for Dennison was made due to COVID-19 protocols agreed to by the NFL and NFLPA.

Dennison's revised role, and the subsequent staff moves, puts the spotlight on a Vikings offensive line that was already among the most-interesting position groups heading into the 2021 season.

View photos of the Vikings 2021 coaching staff.

Minnesota could potentially start two rookies in Christian Darrisaw (left tackle) and Wyatt Davis (right guard), while second-year lineman Ezra Cleveland has switched from right guard to left guard.

Right tackle Brian O'Neill could be in line for a potential contract extension, while center Garrett Bradbury is looking for continued improvement as he enters Year 3.

Rauscher has six seasons of NFL coaching experience with Denver (2015-17), Washington (2018-19) and Minnesota.

He also has multiple years of experience in the Vikings wide-zone run scheme, including in 2020 when the Vikings ranked fifth overall with 142.7 rushing yards per game.


U.S. Bank Stadium Practice

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Steele is now with the Vikings after being hired as Auburn's special teams analyst this spring. He previously coached for Tampa Bay (2013-2018) and Atlanta (2019-2020).

He was the Buccaneers tight ends coach in 2017 and 2018, and held the same position with the Falcons in 2020.

The 43-year-old spent time with six NFL teams from 2001 to 2007, primarily on their practice squads. He was on the Vikings practice squad for parts of the 2003 and 2004 seasons.

Steele played in 17 career games with Green Bay in 2004 and 2005, catching four passes for 42 yards as a tight end.