The Minnesota Vikings are currently without quarterback Kirk Cousins and two backup quarterbacks after a COVID-19 outbreak sidelined them over the weekend.
Though it’s still early into training camp, Vikings owner Mark Wilf is extremely upset by the news — especially considering that Minnesota now reportedly has the lowest vaccination rate among any team in the league.
“We’re very concerned,” Wilf said, via The Associated Press. “I think it’s safe to say that our No. 1 priority is the health and safety of our players, our coaches, our staff and, ultimately, the entire community.”
Vikings reportedly have worst vaccination rate
According to The Associated Press, about 70% of the Vikings roster have received one dose of a COVID vaccine as of Tuesday and about 65% are fully vaccinated. That is the worst among all 32 teams in the league, per the report.
The NFL said Tuesday that 90% of players have received at least a single dose, and that 27 teams have at least 85% of players with a single dose.
Cousins, backup quarterback Nate Stanley and rookie Kellen Mond have all been sidelined after one of them reportedly tested positive for COVID on Saturday, and the other two were deemed close contacts. Backup Jake Browning was still available to practice, as he is vaccinated and doesn’t have to be isolated like the rest of the quarterbacks room.
Mike Zimmer: 'I'm not going to be able to change their mind'
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer didn’t hold back in criticizing his quarterbacks, and unvaccinated Americans in general, initially.
“I am disappointed that this happened,” Zimmer said. “I’m frustrated with, not just my football players that won’t get vaccinated, I’m frustrated with everybody … It’s disappointing.”
Zimmer addressed the issue again Monday, and said he just doesn't understand why someone wouldn't get vaccinated — as it would "put this thing to bed."
He admitted that he knows there are people on his team that he won't be able to persuade to actually get it.
"There are quite a few guys that are just against it," Zimmer said, via the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "I'm not going to be able to change their mind, so it's like half the country, I guess."
While the two quarterbacks who were exposed should be able to return to practice sometime this week — the one who tested positive can’t until he has recovered — Wilf said he will just keep educating players about the vaccine as much as possible.
“Just really making sure that everyone has the full facts, that there’s not any misinformation about this and to understand all the ramifications of these decisions,” Wilf said, via The Associated Press.
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