Vikings' Cousins has COVID-19, won't play preseason opener

Fri Aug 12 2:29pm ET
By DAVE CAMPBELL
AP Pro Football Writer

Related photo caption below

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) and Vikings quarterback Kellen Mond prepare to throw at the NFL football team's practice facility in Eagan, Minn., Monday, Aug. 1, 2022. (AP Photo/Andy Clayton-King)


EAGAN, Minn. (AP) Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins has tested positive for COVID-19 and will not play this weekend in the team's first preseason game.

Coach Kevin O'Connell confirmed the diagnosis Friday at practice, where Cousins was absent for a second straight day. He felt ill Thursday and sent home.

''I like the way he handled it, reporting the symptoms and going through our in-house process we have here,'' O'Connell said. ''Ultimately looking out for his teammates and making sure we'll get him back, ready to roll as soon as possible.''

Cousins has ''very minimal'' symptoms, O'Connell said.

Sean Mannion and Kellen Mond will split time in the exhibition Sunday at Las Vegas, where Cousins was unlikely to play much, if at all, even if he wasn't sick. There are no other quarterbacks on the roster.

''No matter who starts, they're both going to play a ton. Big evaluation game for us of those guys,'' O'Connell said. ''They've done a lot of really good things in camp, and now we get to see them play against a complete defensive structure, different coverages. I think it'll be good for those guys.''

The Vikings are planning, roughly, an even split of the snaps against the Raiders.

''If a guy gets hot, starts feeling maybe he should take one more or two-minute or something like that, we'll always adapt,'' O'Connell said. ''But we'll have plenty of snaps to make it right through these next three games.''

Cousins missed Minnesota's second-to-last game of the 2021 season after testing positive for COVID-19. He also missed five days in training camp last year due to what was deemed a close contact. Cousins followed NFL protocols for unvaccinated players last season.

Earlier this year, the league suspended all coronavirus protocols. The current recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is for people who test positive to isolate from others for at least five days. Isolation can end, the CDC says, if they are fever-free for 24 hours without medication and experiencing improvement in symptoms.

The Vikings' next practice is Tuesday, putting Cousins on track to return to the field then, assuming he's feeling fine.

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Pharaoh Brown Oct 2 10:40am ET
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Julio Jones Oct 2 10:33am ET
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Russell Gage Oct 2 10:23am ET
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Jason Pierre-Paul Oct 2 9:50am ET
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Cairo Santos Oct 2 9:20am ET
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Fantasy Spin: Patterson had been listed as questionable on the injury report after participating in just one limited practice session during the week. If he is declared active for this afternoon's game, he can be a starting option in all fantasy leagues. If Patterson is unable to suit up, Tyler Allgeier would become a viable RB2 option in many leagues.

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