How Will Vikings Being NFL’s Least-Vaccinated Team Affect This Season?
The 2021 Vikings training camp is only a week old and already the team is making news for having the most unvaccinated players in the NFL. So how could that affect the regular season?
The NFL wants its players to get vaccinated
It's not exactly a news bulletin that the National Football League wants its players to get vaccinated against COVID, right? I mean, after slogging through a 2020 season where teams played in front of a limited amount of fans (and in the Vikings' case, it was REALLY limited) and had to juggle schedules due to exposure to COVID-19, they're hoping this season will be much more normal-- even as cases from the Delta variant rise both here in Minnesota and across the country.
But a sizeable number of Vikings players still aren't
But when news surfaced Tuesday that the Vikings are currently the least-vaccinated team in the NFL, it got me wondering just what that could mean for the Vikings' regular season. Obviously, it's not good. First a little background. According to this Sports Illustrated story, only a little over 60 percent of the Vikings' roster is vaccinated. SI said:
Just 64.5 percent of Vikings players are fully vaccinated, with 70 percent in the process. Those percentages suggest that 32 of Minnesota's 90 players are not fully vaccinated and 27 have not received a single shot.
Further, the story said that across the league as a whole, that number is nearly 90 percent. And, the SI story went on to say that (without naming player's names) five projected starters are currently not vaccinated, something that could have major ramifications once the season starts.
And we also know, as of last Saturday, that it's likely that starting quarterback Kirk Cousins is one of those who haven't had the shot. He was one of three quarterbacks the Vikings had to hold out of practice due to possible exposure to the virus. Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer expressed his frustration with that fact in an ESPN video below.
That low vaccination rate could negatively impact the Vikings later this season
If the Vikings' anemic vaccination rate doesn't improve before the season starts, and further COVID interruptions occur, the NFL has laid out some rather pointed plans that could certainly impact the team's success this season.
According to the NFL's website, the league back in July informed teams that if a COVID-19 outbreak occurs and the game cannot be rescheduled during the new 18-week season (something that might be tougher to do, given the extra 17th game that all teams will play this year) the team with the outbreak will forfeit the game and be credited with a loss.
But wait, there's more. The NFL went on to say, "In addition, players on both teams will not be paid for the lost contest, and the team responsible for the canceled game due to unvaccinated players will cover financial losses and be subject to potential discipline from the Commissioner's office," it noted.
It's never good when Minnesota makes the news for negative reasons, but Minnesota also was just in the limelight-- in a positive way-- as a category on Jeopardy! last week. Keep scrolling to see how many of these Minnesota questions YOU can answer correctly.