After weeks of speculation and conversation surrounding how the NFL will go forth with the 2020 season amid the COVID-19 pandemic, this week marks where words will be put into action.
The Minnesota Vikings emailed players this past weekend with plans to begin training camp. Rookies and quarterbacks will be expected to report to TCO Performance Center in Eagan, Minn., on Thursday and the full roster will join them on Tuesday, July 28, Chad Graff of The Athletic reported.
The Vikings’ communication with players followed suit with all other organizations that are prompting training camps to begin as scheduled after an ongoing debate between the league and the players’ union over the re-acclimation period for players, which includes whether there will be preseason games or not.
On Sunday, players across the league launched a social media blitz on the NFL, voicing their concerns with current player-safety protocols and urged the NFL to listen to the players association’s concerns and reform current safety measures. This includes concrete requirements for frequency testing and clear opt-out language, per NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.
After several players participated in the social media blitz, it’s yet to be seen how the Vikings will respond ahead of a digital press conference that’s expected to take place Monday afternoon, Graff said.
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What to Expect From Training Camp
Sticking strictly to team-related business, the Vikings have quite a few items that could be addressed come training camp.
The first is the status of running back Dalvin Cook. Will he show? Or will Cook hold steady to his claims of holding out until he gets a new deal. Under the ongoing negotiations for player safety, Cook could also potentially opt out of the season and avoid any repercussions against his current contract and the new collective bargaining agreements.
Essentially, Cook could put a pause on his rookie contract, sit the 2020 season out, and reconvene with the Vikings to either play out the final year of his deal or reenter contract negotiations.
The Vikings have a reputation for reaching contract agreements nearing the beginning of training camp, which is most likely with Cook.
Some contract talks that may not be resolved before training camp but will surely be asked about by the media is the status of coach Mike Zimmer and general manager Rick Spielman. Both Vikings leaders are entering the final year of their deals could be on hot coals if their contracts are not renewed before the season begins.
Players Speak Their Piece
Many Vikings players took the opportunity to share their concerns on Sunday.
Kirk Cousins tweeted the following:
Since January, all I’ve wanted to do is get back on the field and play the game I love, but I also want to protect my family and my teammates. #WeWantToPlay but health and safety has to come first let’s not play things by ear, let’s be certain.
Other Vikings’ statements are below:
Safety Anthony Harris echoed similar remarks of his teammates, but also shared his willingness to play when a resolution is met.
Trevor Squire is a Heavy contributor covering the Minnesota Vikings and journalism graduate from the University of Minnesota — Twin Cities. Connect with him on Twitter @trevordsquire and join our Vikings community at Heavy on Vikings on Facebook.