'We want to play': Vikings, NFL players raise Covid-19 concerns ahead of Training Camp
MINNEAPOLIS - The Minnesota Vikings will have rookies, quarterbacks and select veterans report TCO Performance Center on Thursday for Training Camp, and the league and its players have yet to reach a full agreement on Covid-19 protocols.
That had players around the NFL, including Vikings players, taking to social media on Sunday with the hashtag #WeWantToPlay. Players want to play and have a season, but they’re nervous about spreading the virus even more if there’s no league-wide rules and protocols in place.
Vikings players Anthony Barr, Eric Kendricks, Anthony Harris and Kirk Cousins were among several NFL athletes to voice their concerns on social media.
The NFL has had to make several changes since the Covid-19 pandemic shut the sports world down on March 11. The NFL Draft was held virtually, with teams coordinating picks with the NFL on video conferencing and conference calls, and drafted players being interviewed on Zoom.
The entire off-season was virtual, with team meetings and coaching done virtually, and players having to work out on their own, or form small groups to maintain proper social distancing.
Vikings Training Camp at TCO Performance Center will not have any spectators. Head trainer and Infection Control Officer Eric Sugarman has been busy making sure the facility is fully ready to go if and when camp starts next week.
He said Monday in a video conference with reporters that players have every right to be concerned.
“I’ve talked to a lot of players in the last four months. The players are well within their rights to have concerns about the health and safety of all of us. Public health is what’s important, the players’ health is what’s important. Every one of the calls that we’ve had, it’s all about health and safety,” Sugarman said. “I know that the league and that the NFLPA, their primary concern is health and safety. It’s the No. 1 directive. It’s impossible to totally eliminate the risk.”