Vikings president Mark Wilf said on Tuesday that the team is “very concerned” about the hesitation of some players to vaccinate.
The Washington Post reported that the Vikings have the lowest vaccination rates in the NFL with 70 percent in process and 64.5 percent fully vaccinated.
“Well, we’re very worried,” said Wilf. “I think it’s safe to say that our No. 1 priority is the health and safety of our players, our coaches, our employees, and ultimately the entire community. From that perspective, we really want people to get vaccinated, to get vaccinated. We are proud of the fact that we have partnered with the state of Minnesota to use our facility here as an off-season vaccination center. We want everyone to follow protocol. We The organizations are trying to educate everyone on the team to make sure they get vaccinated.”
The Vikings have already moved Rick Dennison from offensive line coach to senior offensive advisor after he refused a vaccination. The Vikings have four players on their COVID-19 reserve list: quarterbacks Kirk Cousins, Kellen Mondt and Nate Stanley, and receiver Myron Mitchell.
Mond tested positive last Saturday, and Cousins and Stanley were considered high-risk close contacts. Asked if he plans to speak directly to the starting quarterback’s cousin about not being vaccinated, Wilf said people from the football side are talking to the players as a team.
“We’ve worked with coach (Mike Zimmer) and (general manager) Rick (Spielman) on this, and we’re really doing it (where) all the talks are really for the team,” Wilf said. “That’s the approach we come from.[Athletic Trainer]Eric Sugarman, our entire medical team, is really making sure that everyone has the full facts, that there’s no misinformation about it, and that’s what makes these decisions. Understand all the implications.
Wilf, who declined to say how many Vikings players have been vaccinated, said vaccination is very important for health, and added that “the competing side is, of course, concerned.”
“With the Delta version and other new permutations, we want to make sure to reserve only Health and Safety,” he said. “That’s the attitude we come from with ownership and as an organization.”
first day in pad
Anthony Barr looked like a kid on his first day of school. When asked about applying pads for the first time since tearing his pectoral muscles last September during a game against the Indianapolis Colts, the usually stoic Barr showed his enthusiasm.
“It’s like the first time again,” he said. “It’s like that every year. But especially after last year. It’s been 10 months or whatever. I’m excited to be back out there, running around, hitting someone and playing a game of football.”
The same thing can be said about most, if not all, Vikings players as Tuesday’s practice had their first day in the pads. There was a noticeable difference throughout practice as the players would get jittery from time to time.
Neither position group liked to pad more than the offensive lineman.
“We play football in the pads,” said center Garrett Bradbury. “It’s taking the next step towards being ready for sport and everything.”
Still, adding pads can sometimes lead to some chaos, which often results in fights at training camp. Not that offensive coordinator Clint Kubiak was too concerned about it. He said that coach Mike Zimmer keeps an eye on everyone when it comes to it.
“He keeps us together as a team,” Kubik said. “We do different tempo in each exercise and he addresses this in team meetings.”
A pleasant surprise at the start of training camp has been the rise of Oli Udoh.
The 24-year-old has shifted to defense this off-season, after being selected to tackle raw talent in the 2019 draft. And he’s getting some first-team reps at training camp, cuddling in and out with veteran guard Dakota Dossier.
Does this mean that Udoh is about to begin? unclear.
That said, the fact that Udoh is in his new position so quickly speaks volumes about his potential.
When asked why he felt that the coaching staff asked him to go in, Udoh replied, “Just because of the physical abilities God gave me. I’m 6 foot-6 with long arms, and (I’m) kind of sharp. If you can keep it in a compact area, you have a pretty good guard. I think that’s what he saw in me.”
Free-agent wide receiver/punt returner Trevor Davis Will fly to Twin Cities on Tuesday and work with Vikings on Wednesday. If all goes well, Davis has a chance to be signed. Davis, a fifth-round pick by Green Bay in 2016, has a career punt-return average of 10.1 yards. … While most of the team participated in the first day of the pad, players who did not practice included: tight end tyler conklinleft tackle Christian Darissavright guard Wyatt Davis and center Kohl’s Cabrala.