MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins has tested positive for COVID-19, the team confirmed Friday morning. As an unvaccinated player, Cousins will not be able to play Sunday night against the Green Bay Packers. The news of Cousins’ positive COVID test was first reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter and NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.
Schefter and Pelissero reported that Cousins had symptoms, self reported and then tested positive. As an unvaccinated player he is tested for COVID every day. But during the team's Friday press conference, Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said he wasn't told Cousins had any symptoms and stressed that Cousins is tested every day.
Who will be Vikings QB vs Packers?
Moments after the Vikings placed Cousins on the COVID list, the team activated veteran backup Sean Mannion from the COVID list. Zimmer confirmed Mannion is the starter for Sunday night against the Packers and rookie Kellen Mond with be the backup.
"Sean is a really good football player and we expect him to go out and play well," Zimmer said.
Kirk Cousins: ‘Difficult’ to avoid COVID
Cousins was asked about COVID protocols after the Rams game last Sunday.
"It just is what it is. At this point, you just have to follow the protocols, be disciplined," Cousins said. There’s a lot of people not testing. So, it’s in our building. It’s going to be in our building, it’s going to spread. We’ve just got to be disciplined to keep our distance and make sure that, to the best of our ability, we don’t get it. But it is going to be difficult."
Scenario that Zimmer feared
During training camp, all Vikings quarterbacks except Jake Browning missed the team's night practice due to COVID protocols. At that time, Zimmer expressed his frustration with players refusing to get vaccinated and spoke about the problem it could cause late in a season with a playoff berth on the line. The worst-case scenario is unfortunately starting to play out for the Vikings at the end of the season ahead of a must-win game at Green Bay.
Friday afternoon, Zimmer addressed the current COVID situation within the Vikings and the NFL.
"We knew that probably the way it was going – obviously with omicron going now its way different than the beginning of season -- I was more concerned about the players’ health than losing football games," Zimmer said. "I didn’t really want their families or them to get sick or get really sick."
Vikings practice – Friday pool report
The Vikings practiced inside their Indoor Practice Facility with the doors open. The team conducted stretching and special teams during the open period of practice.
Defensive tackle Michael Pierce was not in attendance. Quarterback Sean Mannion and tackle Rashod Hill returned to practice after their activations from the Reserve/COVID-19 list.
Assistant Head Coach/Co-Defensive Coordinator Andre Patterson returned to practice for the first time after missing time because of COVID-19.
Vikings COVID list
The Vikings COVID-19/Reserve list also includes LB Nick Vigil, G Oli Udoh and DE Patrick Jones III.
Vikings injury report for Packers game
Doubtful: Cameron Dantzler
Questionable: Tyler Conklin, Michael Pierce and Chazz Surratt
Cousins on vaccines
During training camp, Cousins said he had even considered putting plexiglass around his space in meeting rooms, and talked with head coach Mike Zimmer about arranging different places to game plan.
"If that’s what it takes to get to the playoffs and be in playoff games and win playoff games, then that’s where we’re going to meet. We’re going to avoid this close contact thing with everything we possibly can do," Cousins said. "I’m going to do whatever it takes."