Coach on Vikings’ Staff Lured to Clemson

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports.

Minnesota Vikings defensive line coach Chris Rumph took a leave of absence from the team in October and has now joined the Clemson Tigers in December.

Coach on Vikings’ Staff Lured to Clemson

Rumph arrived on the Vikings coaching staff at the dawn of the Kevin O’Connell era 22 months ago, a member of mostly all newcomers after Mike Zimmer left the franchise. Wide receivers coach Keenan McCardell was the only notable coaching holdover.

ESPN reported Monday, “Clemson coach Dabo Swinney has hired two new assistant coaches to replace the pair he let go last week. Matt Luke will take over as the offensive line coach and Chris Rumph will handle defensive ends. They replace offensive line coach Thomas Austin and defensive ends coach Lemanski Hall, who were fired Thursday.”

Staff Lured
Tennessee Co-Defensive Coordinator Chris Rumph arrives to the stadium before an SEC football game between Tennessee and Florida in Gainesville, Florida, on Saturday, September 21, 2019. © Calvin Mattheis/News Sentinel, Knoxville News Sentinel via Imagn Content Services, LLC.

In mid-to-late October, Rumph departed the team for unknown reasons and hasn’t returned since. ESPN’s Kevin Seifert wrote at the time, “O’Connell declined to get into specifics about either coach, other than to confirm the reason for their absences is personal. There is no timetable for either to return.”

At the time of this article’s publication, Rumph was still listed as the Vikings’ defensive line coach on the team’s website. It is unclear if he’ll be formally replaced in 2023, but Patrick Hill is the assistant defensive line coach.

Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports.

Rumph has coached in the NCAA and NFL for 21 years, and the new gig at Clemson actually isn’t terribly new. He held the same job for the same team from 2006 to 2010. Rumph later joined the Alabama Crimson Tide after the first Clemson stint and won two National Championships (2010, 2011) with Nick Saban.

Since the start of 2020, Rumph has worked at the NFL level, working for the Houston Texans as an outside linebackers coach in 2020, defensive line coach for the Chicago Bears in 2021, and for the Vikings in 2022, plus a smidgen in 2023.

Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports.

O’Connell said about Rumph when the leave-of-absence news broke in October, “I love Chris Rumph. He is one of the first coaches I hired here, and he means the world to me.”

Clemson did not finish in the Top 25 this season, ending the collegiate regular season with an 8-4 record, and will play the Kentucky Wildcats in the Gator Bowl on December 29th.

Co-Defensive Coordinator / Outside Linebackers coach Chris Rumph walks the orange carpet during a Tennessee signing day celebration at the UTK Student Union in Knoxville, Tennessee, on Wednesday, February 6, 2019. © Calvin Mattheis/News Sentinel.

Rumph’s son, Chris Rumph II, is an outside linebacker for the Los Angeles Chargers, turning pro via the 4th Round of the 2021 NFL Draft.

Rumph, the father, will turn 52 later this month.


Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

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