Not since 2014, head coach Mike Zimmer’s first season with the team, have the Vikings opened with the same starting five as the year before.

There’s no better guide, though, particularly during this pandemic that kept the group from developing any on-field chemistry until training camp began about a month ago, than the only person on staff with a master’s degree in fluid mechanics: Rick Dennison.

Dennison has been an offensive coordinator for 10 of his 26 years coaching in the league, mostly as an offensive line coach. Zimmer included running game coordinator in his title. From Reiff to right tackle Brian O’Neill, the Vikings have raved about the 62-year-old Dennison’s ability to conceptually teach the system and calmly try to bring out the best in the players responsible for one of the most important yet thankless tasks in sport.

“If you can’t run the ball in this offense, then we’re not going anywhere. The run’s first, and everything comes off that – it always has – and Rick’s definitely heavily involved in everything that we do,” TE Coach Brian Pariani said.

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