Sunday, January 2, 2022

Vikings QB Kirk Cousins goes on COVID list, Sean Mannion expected to start

 The Minnesota Vikings on Friday placed quarterback Kirk Cousins on the COVID-19 reserve list after he tested positive, and he will miss Sunday night’s game at Green Bay.Cousins is unvaccinated. According to NFL protocols, he must quarantine at least five days.

credit:Pine Journal

A source said that backup quarterback Sean Mannion will start Sunday in place of Cousins. Mannion, who is fully vaccinated, was activated Friday off the COVID-19 reserve list. He was placed on the list last Sunday shortly before Minnesota’s 30-23 loss to the Los Angeles Rams.

Mannion, in his third season with the Vikings and seventh overall, has completed 45 of 74 career passes but has never thrown for a touchdown. His only action for Minnesota was starting the 2019 finale at Chicago when the Vikings had a playoff berth wrapped up and Cousins and other starters rested. He completed 12 of 21 passes for 126 yards with two interceptions in a 21-19 loss.

The Vikings also have rookie quarterback Kellen Mond and Kyle Sloter, who was re-signed on Tuesday after the being on the Vikings’ active roster in 2017 and 2018. Neither Mond nor Sloter has appeared in an NFL regular-season game.

Sunday’s game will mark the second in a row that a high-profile Vikings player who is unvaccinated will miss a game. Running back Dalvin Cook tested positive and was played on the COVID list on Dec. 23 before sitting out against the Rams. Cook was activated off the list Wednesday and will play at Green Bay.

After the game against the Rams, Cousins was asked about the team’s COVID situation.

“At this point, you just have to follow the protocols, be disciplined and there’s a lot of people not testing,” Cousins said. “So it’s in our building. It’s going to be in our building. It’s going to spread. We just got to be disciplined to keep our distance and make sure that to the best of our ability we don’t get it but it is going to be difficult.”

It’s the second time this year that Cousins has been on the COVID list but the first time he has tested positive. He was on the list for five days during training camp after being dubbed a close-risk high contact. That was due to his proximity to Mond, who was also unvaccinated and had tested positive. Mond spent 10 days on the COVID list in training camp.

“I’m going to be vigilant about avoiding a close contact,” Cousins said in August when he returned from being on the COVID list. “I’ve even thought about, should I just set up literally plexiglass around where I sit, so this could never happen again? I’ve thought about it, because I’m going to do whatever it takes.”

Later in August, former longtime NFL quarterback Josh McCown spoke with the Pioneer Press about the possibility that Cousins could miss game action due to being unvaccinated. McCown said it “takes away from some of your ability to lead.”

The Vikings on Friday also activated tackle Rashod Hill off the COVID list.

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