Vikings coach oddly abandons team in middle of season for another job

Chris Rumph is leaving the Minnesota Vikings to coach for Clemson

Former Minnesota Vikings defensive line coach Chris Rumph
Former Minnesota Vikings defensive line coach Chris Rumph / Ed Zurga/GettyImages

Chris Rumph has left his role as the Minnesota Vikings defensive line coach to join Dabo Swinney's coaching staff at Clemson University.

Back in October, Minnesota Vikings defensive line coach Chris Rumph took a personal leave of absence from the team, and he hasn't been on the team's sidelines ever since his departure.

Well, we still don't have an explanation for why Rumph took a leave of absence (nor do we need to know), but his time away from the Vikings became permanent on Monday when it was revealed that the assistant coach has another opportunity elsewhere.

With five still left on Minnesota's schedule, Rumph has left the team to take a job in the college ranks on Dabo Swinney's staff at Clemson University. The former Vikings coach will be in charge of the defensive ends at Clemson.

Chris Rumph not the only coach to take a leave of absence from the Minnesota Vikings this year

Typically, coaches in the NFL don't leave their roles in the league until their team's season has concluded. But since Rumph was already away from the team, perhaps he was given the okay by Minnesota to pursue other opportunities.

In addition to Rumph, Vikings outside linebackers coach/pass rush specialist Mike Smith took a leave of absence from the team earlier this year. No details about the reason for his absence have been provided or reported either. But, like Rumph, his absence has just been described as something due to a personal matter.

Is it possible that there was some friction created between new Minnesota defensive coordinator Brian Flores and some of the remaining Vikings defensive coaches when Flores was hired earlier this year?

Sure, it's possible. But it's also possible that we have absolutely no idea why Rumph or Smith needed to take time away from their coaching jobs with Minnesota.

Rumph was brought in by the Vikings in 2022 as part of Kevin O'Connell's first coaching staff, and before that, he spent time with the Chicago Bears and Houston Texans, in addition to coaching jobs at the college level with multiple Power-5 schools, including Tennessee, Florida, Texas, Alabama, and Clemson.

Rumph grew up in South Carolina and played college football at the University of South Carolina. With Clemson also located in South Carolina, he now gets to return to a place that he called home for multiple years.