Vikings return to practice after negative COVID-19 tests

The Minnesota Vikings returned to TCO Performance Center on Thursday and are expected to practice after clearing COVID-19 testing, the team announced.

Players and staff had PCR and POC tests done as they arrived to the practice facility Thursday, and the results showed zero positive COVID-19 tests. The Vikings had to close TCO Performance Center Tuesday and Wednesday after the Tennessee Titans had three players and five team staff test positive for COVID-19 after last Sunday’s game at Minnesota.

Mike Zimmer, his coaching staff and players held virtual meetings all day Wednesday from their homes. Thanks to a virtual off-season, it was nothing new for the Vikings.

"I think we’re trained for it now because we’ve done it so much in the past. It wasn’t that much of an adjustment with the guys. They know how it goes with the virtual meetings and the virtual walk-throughs that we’ve had to do. We’ve been able to do it in the past and it’s not completely foreign to us," Co-defensive coordinator Adam Zimmer said.

Offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak said the circumstances were tough Tuesday and Wednesday, but the team made the most of it.

"It’s been challenging, let’s be honest. We were home for the last two days trying to get our work done, get our computers moved, trying to get all our stuff, trying to get our preparation ready for the players, but it’s been a challenge. I’ll say this, the players have been great," Kubiak said. "Zim has found a way for us to get that done. It’s just kind of part of the process, I think everybody knew we were going to face some things like this, so you keep a positive attitude and you keep pushing through."

During Thursday's practice sessions, Vikings players wore face coverings at walk-through and had either masks or special mouth shields at practice as an extra COVID-19 precaution.

The Titans, after having an additional player and staff member test positive, had their game against the Pittsburgh Steelers this week postponed until further notice.

The Vikings aren’t out of the woods yet when it comes to facing the Houston Texans on Sunday. They’ll continue to get daily testing done, and Head Trainer Eric Sugarman said Wednesday positive tests may not show up for three to five days after potential exposure. NFL officials say contact tracing numbers show up to 48 instances of possible exposure from the Titans game.

The Vikings plan to practice Thursday afternoon, Friday and fly to Houston on Saturday, assuming they continue to produce negative COVID-19 tests.