With Cousin to COVID Protocol, QB Shortage Annoys Zimmer

EAGAN, Minn. – Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer has expressed confidence in the power of his team’s chemistry to overcome any potential tension between players vaccinated for COVID-19 and holdouts who have so far lived without vaccinations have liked.

Frustration with the starting quarterback missing practice due to NFL virus protocol prompted Zimmer to consider the possibility of it becoming a regular season problem or crack, with Kirk Cousins ​​being sidelined from team activity for the third straight day.

“Maybe if some leaders miss the game because of it and we lose the game because of it, it can happen. Guys who are the leader of your team and they don’t play and you lose the game can happen. Hopefully we don’t have to figure it out,” Zimmer said.

Cousins ​​and backups Kellen Mondt and Nate Stanley were placed on the reserve list for COVID-19 after an essential absence from practice on Saturday, leaving third-year player Jake Browning as the only other quarterback on the roster. was given. The Vikings signed Case Cooks for emergency aid ahead of practice on Monday and also claimed an exemption from Seattle to Danny Attling.

Quarterback coach Andrew Janoko and offensive coordinator Clint Kubiak were also asked for warmup throws to help lighten the load on Browning, who was watered down by teammates after the session ended on Saturday. Browning said that Cousins ​​sent her an encouraging text message after her stellar performance.

Browning is vaccinated, which should help his cause in the competition for the number 2 spot on the depth chart.

“I just made a personal choice, and now everyone knows that personal preference,” said Browning, who was not based out of Washington and spent two years on the practice team. “I don’t want to get in the middle of all those different conversations. It’s kind of busy.”

The cousins ​​declined to answer reporters’ questions about their vaccination status this summer, but were sidelined this week after it became clear they had not been vaccinated.

According to a person with knowledge of the situation, speaking to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the NFL and NFL Players Association protocols were designed to keep player COVID-19 information private, Cousins ​​is a high Those at risk have turned out to be close contacts. Mond tested positive, NFL Network reported.

If a non-vaccinated player tests positive this year, he must isolate and be asymptomatic for 10 days before joining the team to work individually. After close contact with an infected person, uninfected players face a five-day quarantine period until they clear a negative test. Those are the rules of 2020.

Vaccinated players are not required to quarantine for close contact with an infected person, amid a change in protocol in 2021 to encourage receiving COVID-19 shots. They can return to action as soon as two days after testing positive.

Unvaccinated players are still required to wear masks inside and cannot eat with the rest of the team or leave the hotel on the street.

Last week, the league reported that about 88% of players had received at least one dose of the vaccine, far higher than the general public rate.

“I just don’t understand. I think we can put an end to this thing if we all do that,” Zimmer said.

With the Vikings entering an important season in Zimmer’s eight-year tenure, not to mention his future after Cousins ​​and Mond’s draft in the third round, the playoffs are much needed to make more.

Wide receiver Adam Thielen and safety Harrison Smith are two other star players who were not vaccinated earlier this summer when asked about their condition, but no one has the keys to the season like the quarterback.

The situation with Cousins ​​is part of why Zimmer hasn’t hidden his jealousy, which becomes the initial theme of the camp. Another reason for their public dismay is the spread of the delta variant across the country which has led to an increase in cases in several states.

“These people, some of them just won’t do it,” Zimmer said. “I shouldn’t say that, but everything they’ve read is just, wow, out there. I don’t know if it’s misinformation. It’s their belief, so everything they’ve heard or read or told. “

Cousins ​​has long been vocal about her faith, and anti-vaccination sentiment is strong in some Christian circles. Last year, on a podcast appearance, the cousins ​​took heat for expressing a rather equestrian – he later apologized for the insensitivity – about his small level of concern about the COVID-19 infection.

“Even if I die, I will die. I’m at peace about it,” the cousin said then.

Zimmer said the Vikings may decide to keep a quarterback at all of their meetings, as some teams around the league did to avoid the type of trouble Denver experienced last season when virus protocols put all their Four quarterbacks were forced out of the November 30 game. against New Orleans. Practice squad wide receiver Kendall Hinton was promoted to try to hold the fort.

The Cooks played in northern Arizona from 2015–19. Atling was a seventh-round pick out of LSU by New England in 2018.

The Vikings also worked, but did not sign former St. John’s quarterback Jackson Erdman and former Hawaii quarterback Cole McDonald. Erdman played at Rosemount High School, a few miles from the Minnesota facility.

Wide receiver Myron Mitchell, an undefeated rookie from UAB, was also placed on the COVID-19 reserve list. The Vikings placed wide receiver Bissy Johnson on injured reserve after the third-year-old in the competition for the No. 3 spot suffered a season-ending ACL tear in his knee last week.


More AP NFL coverage: and—NFL


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