Unvaccinated Minnesota Vikings QB Kirk Cousins vows to follow COVID-19 protocols

EAGAN (Minn.) -- Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins has vowed to comply with the NFL's COVID-19 protocols in order to avoid the possibility of contracting the virus. He also promised to be close to contact if he returns to practice on Thursday, after being activated from the reserve/COVID-19 roster.After Kellen Mond, a rookie, tested positive for the virus, Cousins as well as quarterback Nate Stanley were placed under the COVID-19 protocols by the league. Stanley and Cousins were both deemed high-risk close contact and had to be isolated for five days before they could return to practice.A high-risk contact is defined by the NFL-NFL Players Association protocols as a player who is not vaccinated.Cousins, 32 years old, stated that he had six negative tests in the past seven days and didn't have any symptoms of COVID-19. According to the veteran quarterback, the problem was caused by the large size of Minnesota's QB meeting room at TCO Performance Center.Cousins stated that tracers showed that I wasn't a "close contact" as Cousins understood it to be. The problem was that the meeting room in which we met was too small to allow us to share a room, even though we were quite far apart. We moved to another meeting room and, as I understand it now, if we had met in a bigger room, we wouldn't have missed practice. Because I wasn't as close to the person I was supposed to be. It was disappointing that I missed practice. I have never missed four practices in my college or pro career. It was disappointing to have missed four practices in a week without COVID.ESPN was confirmed by a league source that Cousins was a close contact because of the size of Minnesota’s quarterback room. To avoid such an issue in the future, the quarterback stated that his position group will be moving to a larger room.Cousins stated, "As Coach Mike [Mike] Zimmer said last night, I said that we can meet indoors, but we can also meet outside." "And I said, "If it means meeting outside in January, and if that's all it takes to reach the playoffs, be in playoff games, and win playoffs, then that's where it's going to happen. We will do everything possible to avoid any close contact. The meeting room's size was an issue that I didn't know about. If I had known, I would have said "We clearly can't meet here."Cousins described his decision to get the vaccine as a "very private matter" and refused to disclose whether the circumstances he was in would make it worthwhile for him to do so. He repeatedly spoke out about the importance of following the NFL-NFLPA protocols to protect against the virus and avoid being considered a close contact.Cousins stated, "I believe that as a leader of a team it's very important that you follow the protocols to avoid close contact -- because this is what it comes down to." Cousins asked, "Did your close contact occur? I will be careful to avoid any close contact. Even though I have thought about it, I was thinking, "Should I set up Plexiglas around my seat so that this never happens again?" It's something I have thought about, and I will do what it takes. We will avoid close contact and I look forward making sure I play for every game this season."Cousins stated that he had a "tremendous discussion" with Zimmer Wednesday before he returned to practice. Zimmer has expressed frustration with his players for not being vaccinated and told KFAN-100.3 FM that they had previously spoken about league protocols. Zimmer stated that he didn't believe the protocols were important to Zimmer.Cousins tried to correct the record Thursday: "I very strongly believe in the protocols."He stated that he would be very vigilant with COVID-19 protocols in order to ensure he doesn't get into the same situation down the line.Cousins stated, "The protocols are what to follow." These protocols were established by the NFL. To be able to play on Sunday, I will follow these protocols. That's my main focus. I will be there for every match as long as I am able to test negative and have close contact.The Washington Post reported that at 64.5%, the Vikings have the league's lowest vaccine rate. Cousins stated that he wasn't aware of the current vaccination rates for his team and didn't comment directly on whether or not he thinks the Vikings are in a competitive disadvantage.He said, "I believe it's fluid." "I believe it's changing every day."