Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer didn’t hide his feelings toward unvaccinated players and Americans over the weekend, arguing those who choose not to get vaccinated “don’t understand” the risks.
After the team was left with only one active quarterback on the roster ahead of a public training camp session Saturday night, Zimmer expressed palatable frustration while speaking with reporters.
“It’s why people should get vaccinated,” Zimmer said in reference to the isolated outbreak that led to several players being held out of practice.
“Quite honestly, after everything we went through last year, I’m not surprised one bit,” he continued. “I am disappointed that this happened. I’m frustrated with not just my football players who won’t get vaccinated, [but] I’m frustrated with everybody [who won’t].”
According to the Minnesota Star Tribune, “Jake Browning was the only Vikings quarterback available for Saturday’s annual night practice at TCO Stadium, after the team’s other three quarterbacks were forced to quarantine by the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols.”
The Tribune noted that starting quarterback Kirk Cousins and backup quarterback Nate Stanley were forced into quarantine after coming in close contact with fellow quarterback Kellen Mond, who had tested positive for COVID-19. The fact that Cousins and Stanley were forced to quarantine following contact with Mond indicates that they have not been vaccinated against the coronavirus. Under new NFL rules, vaccinated players are not required to quarantine after contact with infected teammates, while unvaccinated players are.”Something like this happens a day before a game that has a chance to get you to the playoffs or something like that,” the head coach went on to say. “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.”Later in the news conference, Zimmer praised sole active quarterback Jake Browning’s intelligence. It was not clear whether Zimmer’s comments were intended as a dig on unvaccinated individuals, but the inference could certainly be made.”Jake’s really smart. He’s vaccinated,” Zimmer said. “That helps to be the backup. So, as we move forward here, he’s going to get a ton of reps [Saturday night]. I don’t go about saying, ‘It’s going to go a long way,’ because we’ve still got a lot of camp to go, but we’ll see. He’s out there. He’s available. That’s important. It’s important to be available when you’re playing football, a team sport.”The NFL announced last week that nearly 88% of players have received at least one dose of the vaccine. But the league’s obvious push to essentially force vaccinations through harsh punishments for the unvaccinated has caused an uproar among some outspoken players and fans. Last month, Arizona Cardinals star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins warned that the protocols may cause him to retire.