Mike Zimmer reveals Vikings haven’t planned for an outbreak

(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) Mike Zimmer
(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) Mike Zimmer /

The Minnesota Vikings don’t really seem very prepared to deal with a COVID-19 outbreak.

This past weekend against the Carolina Panthers was really the first time the Minnesota Vikings were significantly impacted out on the field by the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Vikings star receiver Adam Thielen was unable to play against the Panthers because he had yet to be removed from Minnesota’s Reserve/COVID-19 list. Thielen was placed on the list last Monday after he reportedly tested positive and negative for the virus.

Luckily, Justin Jefferson and the rest of the Vikings receivers were able to make up for the absence of Thielen during the team’s Week 12 win over Carolina.

Should the Minnesota Vikings quarantine a quarterback?

This past weekend, the Denver Broncos were forced to place every quarterback on their roster on the team’s Reserve/COVID-19 list. This resulted in the Broncos having to start Kendall Hinton, a practice squad receiver, under center in their Week 12 game against the New Orleans Saints.

Unsurprisingly, Hinton struggled (finished 1-of-9 for 13 yards and two interceptions) and Denver was on the receiving end of a 31-3 clobbering by the Saints.

One way teams around the league can avoid something like this happening is to have one of the quarterbacks on their roster or practice squad quarantine and practice away from the team’s facilities. The Buffalo Bills are currently doing this with Jake Fromm as he has only been meeting virtually with the team’s quarterbacks this season.

With a total of four quarterbacks on their roster and practice squad, is this something Minnesota should consider given the situation in Denver and the recent COVID-19 outbreak being dealt with by the Baltimore Ravens?

Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer was asked on Monday if the team is considering quarantining one of their signal-callers for the rest of the season to make sure they don’t end up in a situation similar to the Broncos. Zimmer shared Minnesota’s current thought process on doing something like that.

"“No, we haven’t really talked about that much. We talked about it earlier in the year, but quite honestly, if a guy isn’t practicing, he’s not probably going to play very good anyway. We’ll just keep being really careful with our protocols, be smart with the masks, and all those things.”"

While the situation in Denver this week seemed like it’s something that should’ve been a wake-up call for the rest of the league, the Vikings apparently aren’t too worried about something that just kept their top receiver from playing against the Panthers.

Minnesota was lucky they were playing a Carolina team that was still beatable without needing Thielen. But imagine something like this happening in the playoffs if the Vikings are able to qualify for the postseason this year.

Imagine Minnesota being all excited about making the playoffs after starting the season 1-5 and then they find out that all four of their quarterbacks have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. The Vikings would then have to turn to one of their emergency signal-callers, which are apparently Thielen and Kyle Rudolph, to try and lead them to a win from under center.

Sure Minnesota’s chances of winning a game in the playoffs would be low with Nate Stanley or Jake Browning starting at quarterback instead of Cousins. But the chances would be much, much higher with Stanley or Browning than what they would be if the Vikings had to roll out with Thielen or Rudolph starting under center.

The thing that is a bit mind-boggling is that it’s not difficult for Minnesota to stash a quarterback for the rest of the season. By having Stanley or Browning work with the team virtually for the rest of the year, they could potentially save the franchise from an embarrassing loss like the Broncos just experienced.

Instead, Zimmer and the Vikings are just going to trust that their guys follow the proper protocol and the uncontrollable virus won’t impact the team if they just do that. How’d that work out for Thielen?