The Minnesota Vikings will be without two of the franchise’s most important players on the eve the team will honor the 20th anniversary of Korey Stringer’s passing.
Rookie quarterback Kellen Mond tested positive for COVID-19, while Kirk Cousins was deemed a high-risk close contact and will not participate in the team’s annual night practice, NFL Network’s Tom Pellisero reported on Saturday. Second-year quarterback Nate Stanley is also undergoing COVID-19 protocols and will not be at Saturday’s practice.
As player health and safety remain a concern in the NFL, the Vikings’ COVID-19 outbreak has once again put a spotlight on Minnesota the same day the team planned to honor Stringer, who died due to a heat stroke 20 years ago, before practice.
Jake Browning, who is vaccinated, will be the only quarterback at practice and will take all reps.
Coach Mike Zimmer said he was disappointed that Saturday’s outbreak and has been a strong proponent for his players to get vaccinated, per ESPN’s Courtney Cronin.
“It’s why people should get vaccinated,” Zimmer said. “It’s important to be available a team sport.”
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Cousins Out at Least 5 Days
The NFL updated its COVID-19 guidelines last week that are much more stringent than a year ago.
Anyone who is unvaccinated and has had contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19 is deemed a “high-risk close contact,” like Cousins and Stanley are. Under NFL guidelines, high-risk close contacts must be isolated and are not allowed to return to team facilities for at least five days.
Fully vaccinated players who had contact with a COVID-19 positive person must get tested immediately but do not need to isolate themselves unless they test positive.
Mond’s Development Derailed
Mond, selected in the third round of this year’s draft, is the highest-drafted quarterback prospect by the Vikings since Teddy Bridgewater in 2014.
Tabbed as the successor to Kirk Cousins, Mond has two years to develop before Cousins’ contract expires. Every rep is valuable, especially this season, as he vies for a spot as the backup quarterback.
Mond is out indefinitely and will have less time to prove his worth in Minnesota, however, he remains a strong candidate for the backup gig due to his athletic ability.
Mond’s understanding of the offense remains his biggest test in training camp, which he can still study while in isolation.