The Minnesota Vikings had three quarterbacks missing from practice because of COVID-19 protocols as head coach Mike Zimmer urged players to get vaccinated.
Last week, Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield brought up the COVID-19 vaccine as a potential competitive advantage for teams. The Minnesota Vikings are proving him right.
The Vikings had to practice without three of their four quarterbacks on Saturday, including starter Kirk Cousins, because of COVID-19 protocols.
Rookie Kellen Mond tested positive for COVID-19, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. Cousins and Nate Stanley are being quarantined as close contacts.
The vaccination status of Cousins and Stanley hasn’t been confirmed. However, what we know about NFL protocols for vaccinated players suggests they are not. Players who are vaccinated don’t need to quarantine as close contacts.
In case there was any doubt, head coach Mike Zimmer made it pretty clear with his comments.
“It’s why people should get vaccinated,” Zimmer said, via the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. “I am disappointed that this happened. I’m frustrated, not just with my football players who didn’t get vaccinated, but I’m frustrated with everybody [who didn’t]. We’ll just do the best we can.”
Zimmer worried about the prospect of a similar situation impacting a playoff run if it were to hit during the season.
Andrew Krammer of the Star-Tribune reported Mond is vaccinated. As soon as he has two negative tests taken a day apart, he can return. If Cousins is unvaccinated, he will have to quarantine for five days under NFL protocols.
Jake Browning, who is vaccinated, was the only quarterback available on Saturday.
Browning is a great example of the advantage being vaccinated can give a player. He took all the first-team reps on Saturday and will continue to carry the load until the others can return. Those reps could be invaluable for someone fighting for a roster spot.