MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — COVID-19 protocols sidelined several Minnesota Vikings quarterbacks this week, but there could be bigger consequences once the season begins.
The NFL’s policy says a team must forfeit and take a loss if they have an outbreak and can’t reschedule a game.
The Washington Post reported Tuesday that the Vikings have the lowest vaccination rate in the league.
Some businesses that rely on game days are worried a forfeit could be a real possibility. Minneapolis deli Kramarczuk’s has multiple locations inside U.S. Bank Stadium. Nick Kramarczuk is general manager.
“There’s only eight games, so hopefully we get them all and we win them all,” Kramarczuk said. “It’s huge any time you get that kind of visibility on a national level like that.”
Multiple Vikings players have said they haven’t gotten the shot. Starting quarterback Kirk Cousins is one of four players put on the reserve/COVID-19 list this week. ESPN reports Cousins is a “high-risk close contact,” which — according to NFL protocol — would mean he’s not fully vaccinated.
Mark Wilf, a co-owner of the team, said Tuesday he’s “very concerned” about the team’s vaccine hesitancy.
“We’re encouraging people to take the vaccines, to get vaccinated,” Wilf said. “We’re trying to educate everyone in the organization, the team, to get the vaccinations.”
If the Vikings are forced to forfeit a home game, Kramarczuk’s is one of many businesses in and around U.S. Bank Stadium that would feel the hit.
“Any time you have a large event downtown, it’s a step in the right direction … eating at restaurants, you know, drinking at bars,” Kramarczuk said. “It’s unfortunate that that’s kind of the penalty we [would] all pay.”
Coach Mike Zimmer’s expressed similar concern this week as Wilf about his team’s vaccination rate.