MINNEAPOLIS - The Minnesota Vikings wrapped up their second week of training camp with a practice on Saturday inside U.S. Bank Stadium, but the week was anything but normal.
It started with Kirk Cousins, Kellen Mond and Nate Stanley having to step away from camp due to COVID-19 protocols. Mond tested positive, and Cousins and Stanley had to be away for five days due to being high risk close contacts. That left Jake Browning as the only quarterback available for at least two practices.
Sunday night on Fox 9 Sports Now, Fox 9 Sports Director Jim Rich spoke with legendary Vikings running back Chuck Foreman on the COVID-19 situation, and Cousins missing time. Cousins returned Thursday, and said his decision on the COVID-19 vaccine is a "private health matter" and blamed being put in protocol on the size of a meeting room.
"This is a very serious situation we’ve got going on here with the COVID, so in my opinion if he’s going to be in the game, you’ve got to be in it 100 percent. That means if you’re not going to do what you have to do to keep your teammates and their families safe, if you’re making that decision not to go with the vaccine, then you’re going to have to make the ultimate decision and that’s to step aside totally," Foreman said.
Last week, Vikings coach Mike Zimmer made it very clear he wants as many of his players possible to get the COVID-19 vaccine. A Washington Post reported indicated that 70 percent of players are in the process of getting vaccinated, and 64.5 percent are fully vaccinated. On a roster of 90 players, that leaves as many as 27 who are not vaccinated.
Vikings owner Mark Wilf said last week he’s "very concerned" that the team has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the NFL.
Foreman said if he was a current player in the NFL, he wouldn’t be getting in a huddle with a non-vaccinated player.
"We’re talking about playing a football game and I’m not getting in the huddle with somebody that’s not vaccine. That’s my own personal opinion. If you want to make that choice not to get the vaccine, that’s totally up to you. But if you’re playing this game of football, you can’t be out there and not vaccinated," Foreman said. "Do what you want to do, but you’ve got stop away from the paycheck too."
The reality for the team is that losing key players to COVID-19 protocols during the season could result in losing games. If the Vikings have an outbreak, they could have to forfeit a game and take a loss. Players have said throughout the offseason and training camp that they’re not going to let individual choices on getting or not getting the vaccine divide the locker room.
"If everybody is not on the same page, we’re in deep trouble," Foreman said.