MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins says his stint on the reserve/COVID-19 list was prompted by the small size of the team’s quarterback meeting room.
The Vikings activated quarterback Cousins on Thursday, removing him from the COVID list.
The move comes a day after head coach Mike Zimmer said that he expected Cousins to be at the team’s training camp in Eagan on Thursday.
Also removed from the COVID-19 list Thursday was backup quarterback Nate Stanley. However, backup passer Kellen Mond remains on the list. He has reportedly tested positive for the virus.
The three quarterbacks were placed on the team’s COVID-19 list on Monday, as was wide receiver Myron Mitchell.
At a press conference Thursday afternoon, Cousins said he was deemed a close contact to Mond because the room the team was holding quarterback meetings in was “deemed to be too small.”
“Had we met in a larger room, I would not have missed practice,” Cousins said.
He said the team has since found a new, larger room in which to hold those meetings.
“I’ve had six negative tests since I was last with Kellen,” Cousins said. “Don’t have any symptoms, so I don’t have COVID.”
Cousins refused to disclose his vaccination status when asked Thursday, instead stressing multiple times that he’s following “protocols.”
“The protocols work, masks works, social distancing works,” he said. “I’m at peace with where I’m at and I’ll follow the protocols vigilantly.”
In addition to specifically mentioning wearing masks and social distancing, Cousins said he’s “even thought about, should I just set up literally Plexiglas around where I sit?”
While on the list, Cousins missed multiple practices, and the team signed two quarterbacks to backup Jake Browning, the only passer left after Cousins, Mond and Stanley went on the COVID list.
“It was disappointing to miss practice. In my entire college and pro career I have not missed four practices,” Cousins said. “So to miss four practices in one week and not have COVID was frustrating.”
According to a statement released by the Vikings, the reserve/COVID-19 list was created for players who either tested positive for the virus or who are in quarantine after having been in close contact with an infected person or people.
If a player is under those circumstances, the team is required to immediately place them on reserve. However, teams are not permitted by NFL policy to comment on a player’s medical status or disclose whether or not a player tested positive or is in quarantine.
Cousins and Stanley were considered high-risk close contacts under NFL COVID-19 protocols, leading to their removal from team activities over the weekend. High-risk close contacts are required to isolate after learning about their contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus. Under league protocol, they are to remain isolated until they get negative PCR virus test results.
According to a Washington Post report, the Vikings have the lowest vaccination rate of any NFL team, with only about 65% of players fully vaccinated.
Recently, Zimmer and team management have urged players to get vaccinated, especially as the highly-contagious Delta variant spreads in Minnesota and across the country.
Cousins said he had a conversation with Zimmer Wednesday.
“We had a tremendous conversation last night, great dialogue,” he said. “it was a very, very positive discussion, came away feeling great.”
When Cousins was asked in June about his vaccine status, the quarterback 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.”