The Vikings were without quarterbacks Kirk Cousins, Kellen Mondt and Nate Stanley in Saturday night’s practice due to COVID-19 protocols, with Jake Browning only available as quarterback.
Sources confirmed that Mond tested positive for COVID-19, while the cousins, Starter and Stanley, were designated as high-risk close contacts.
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer would not comment on the three quarterbacks who were out but said Browning has been vaccinated. Dubbed high-risk contacts, Cousins and Stanley have not been vaccinated and will be outside for at least five days. In June the cousins were asked about their vaccination status and said, “I choose to keep my medical history private.”
The vaccination status of Mond is uncertain as a person can test positive even during vaccination.
“Due to NFL-NFLPA COVID-19 protocols, several players will be excluded from tonight’s practice inside TCO Stadium,” the Vikings made a statement before practice in front of fans.
Zimmer spoke to the media before practice, and he was not happy with the developments.
“That’s why people should get vaccinated,” Zimmer said. “(If) something like this happens the day before a game in which you get a chance to make the playoffs or something like that, (it can disrupt a team). It’s the delta variant rough. You can see that matters every day.” So, for everyone’s health, I think it’s important. But some people don’t understand, I guess.
“I’m disappointed that this happened. I’m disappointed, not only with my football players who didn’t get vaccinated, but I’m disappointed by everyone (who didn’t).”
Zimmer was asked if this could perhaps be a wake-up call to the team for people who have not been vaccinated.
“How do you know?” he said. “Some people are very firm.”
In June, four Vikings players other than Cousins were asked if they had been vaccinated. Adam Thielen, Harrison Smith and Sheldon Richardson said they were not, and Eric Kendrick said he was.
Browning, Mond and Stanley entered training camp, which began Wednesday, battling for a backup job behind Cousins. Getting Browning vaccinated and not missing out on camp so far might have helped his chances.
“Jake is really smart,” Zimmer said. “He’s vaccinated. It helps to have backup. So he’s going to get a lot of reps as we move here (from Saturday night). I don’t know how to say ‘this one’ Will go a long way’ because we still have a lot of camping to do. But we’ll see. He’s out, he’s available, it’s important. Being available when you’re playing football, a team sport is important.”
Zimmer said players who weren’t able to practice because of COVID-19 protocols “will have to go virtual until they’re admitted back to the building.” Asked whether players who missed Saturday’s practice could also miss out on practice starting Monday, when the Vikings take to the pads for the first time, Zimmer said, “Just whatever the league tells us. Me. do not know.”
The Vikings may sign another quarterback. Free agent Sean Manion, his backup for the past two years, is not an option as he agreed to sign with Seattle on Saturday.
vikings honor stringer
The Vikings on Saturday night honored Corey Stringer, who died from complications from heatstroke at an exercise at training camp in Manakato on Sunday, August 1, 2001, 20 years ago. He showed a video of Stringer, with a moment of silence, and his number 77 written on a practice area at the TCO Performance Center.
“I know he was a really good player,” Zimmer said. “I didn’t know him or knew very much. … From what everyone told me, he was a great man. Just unfortunate.”
The Vikings announced that they have joined with the NFL Foundation and the Corey Stringer Institute to create the Corey and Kelsey Stringer Athletic Training Scholarship, with an initial $50,000 endowment that will help students in partnership with the National Athletic Training Association. Kelsey was Stringer’s wife.