MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota Vikings have placed four players — including Kirk Cousins and two other quarterbacks — on the reserve/COVID-19 list.
Along with Cousins, passers Kellen Mond and Nate Stanley and wide receiver Myron Mitchell were put on the list Monday. The team also added two QBs, signing Case Cookus and claiming Danny Etling off of waivers.
Cousins, Mond and Stanley were all held out of practice on Saturday, leaving third-year man Jake Browning as the only available quarterback.
“I think that’s part of being a backup in this league, is you always gotta be ready,” Browning said.
Head coach Mike Zimmer praised Browning on Saturday, specifically highlighting his vaccination status.
“Jake’s really smart. He’s vaccinated, that helps, to be the backup,” Zimmer said. “He’s out there. He’s available. That’s important. It’s important to be available when you’re playing football in a team sport.”
This is not the first time Zimmer, who has received a vaccine, has spoken out about the importance of getting a shot. In June, after three Vikings told the press they were not vaccinated, Zimmer said unvaccinated players were “going to have a hard time during the season.”
Now, with case counts climbing as the Delta variant spreads, Zimmer is continuing to encourage his players to get vaccinated.
“This Delta variant is rough. You can see the cases going up every single day now. That’s why for the sake of everybody’s health, I think it’s important, but some people don’t understand, I guess,” he said. “I am disappointed that this happened. I’m frustrated with not just my football players that won’t get vaccinated, I’m frustrated with everybody.”
When asked about his vaccination status in June, Cousins said he chooses “to keep my medical history private … I think people just need to make their own decision and make the one that’s best for them and their families.”
Zimmer said Monday there are some players he believes will never get the vaccine.
“There’s quite a few guys that they’re just against it. I’m not gonna be able to change their mind, it’s like half the country I guess,” he said. “These guys, some of them just won’t do it. I shouldn’t say it, but some of the things they read, they’re just out there.”
The NFL has encouraged vaccination among players by imposing competitive and financial penalties on teams that have outbreaks among vaccinated players, as well as loosening restrictions for those who have received a shot. On Thursday, an NFL representative said nearly 88% of all NFL players have at least one shot.
The Vikings also placed wide receiver Bisi Johnson the injured reserve list Monday.