Fri Aug 12 2:29pm ET
By DAVE CAMPBELL
AP Pro Football Writer
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.
Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey (thigh) is currently listed as questionable heading into the Week 4 matchup against the Arizona Cardinals. However, it sounds like the team wants McCaffrey to go through his pregame warmups. The team wants to see McCaffrey out on the field before they make their final decision. All signs are pointing to McCaffrey being active, but fantasy managers will have to wait and see. He will be a must-start, assuming he's active. The Cardinals do have a strong run defense, but McCaffrey remains one of the best backs in the league when healthy.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Chris Godwin (hamstring) is expected to play in Week 4's game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Fantasy Spin: Godwin had been listed as questionable on the injury report after logging two limited practice sessions during the week. He can be a starting option in fantasy leagues but owners should have a backup plan in place since the Buccaneers won't play until Sunday night.
Houston Texans tight end Pharaoh Brown (shoulder) is listed as questionable for the Week 4 matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers. The Texans have already ruled out Brevin Jordan (shoulder) for this contest. They've elevated Jordan Atkins and Mason Schreck with the team short on options at tight end. Brown was able to practice in full on Wednesday and Thursday. However, he was limited on Friday, which raises the question on whether or not he'll suit up. Regardless, O.J. Howard is really the only tight end worth looking at in Houston right now. He'll have some TE2 value in deep leagues for this upcoming contest, but could have increased value if Brown is out.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Julio Jones (knee) is expected to play in Week 4's game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Fantasy Spin: Jones had been listed as questionable on the injury report after logging two limited practice sessions during the week. At best, he should be considered a risky flex option in fantasy leagues because the Buccaneers won't play until Sunday night and also because he is coming off a knee injury which has caused him to miss the last two games, meaning that his offensive snaps could be limited.
Minnesota Vikings safety Lewis Cine (leg) was carted off the field after an ugly play during the Week 4 matchup against the New Orleans Saints. The rookie safety was put on a backboard and onto a cart before exiting the field. The entire Vikings surrounded Cine in what looked to be a horrendous leg injury. He will be transported to a nearby hospital. The organization should give updates on Cine later in the day. Although, the 22-year-old is likely to miss significant time after that incident.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Russell Gage Jr. (hamstring) is expected to play in Week 4's game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Fantasy Spin: Gage had been listed as questionable on the injury report after logging two limited practice sessions during the week. He makes a risky fantasy option this week because the Buccaneers won't play until Sunday night and they are also expected to get several of their top receivers back versus the Chiefs, making Gage's role in the offense uncertain.
San Francisco 49ers running back Tyrion Davis-Price (ankle) has been ruled out for the Week 4 matchup against the Los Angeles Rams. This marks his second game in a row that he's forced to miss due to a high-ankle sprain. The expectation is that Jeff Wilson Jr. will continue being the lead back in San Francisco. He played 73% of the offensive snaps during Week 3. Wilson should be considered a low-end RB2 for this upcoming matchup. Jordan Mason is expected to back him up, but won't have much value with Wilson playing over 70% of the snaps.
Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (ribs) continues to play through fractured rib cartilage, but he is progressing. The organization mentioned that they plan on being more aggressive with their play-calling in Week 4 against the Houston Texans. Clearly, they trust that Herbert is healthy enough that they don't need to limit their playbook. Fantasy managers should expect a strong outing from Herbert in Week 4. He'll play a winless Texans defense, so Herbert should be considered a strong QB1 for this one.
New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson (knee) is set to make his season debut against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 4. The second-year quarterback missed the first three games after suffering a meniscus injury and a bone bruise in his knee during the preseason. Surprisingly, the Jets have looked halfway decent with veteran Joe Flacco under center. Despite that, Wilson will get the keys to the offense going forward. However, the organization is tempering their expectations for Wilson in his return. The 23-year-old does have potential, but remains a low-end QB2 right now.
Baltimore Ravens linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul plans on making his team debut against the Buffalo Bills in Week 4. The veteran linebacker signed with the team last week. The Ravens are in desperate need of help after losing three linebackers due to injury. The expectation is Pierre-Paul will immediately slide into a significant role on defense. This doesn't completely fix their problems, but the addition of Pierre-Paul should help ease the loss of the other players.
Chicago Bears wide receiver Velus Jones Jr. (hamstring) is expected to make his NFL debut against the New York Giants in Week 4. The third-round rookie has missed the first three weeks due to a lingering hamstring issue. Luckily, it sounds like he's ready to go here, which is a boost for the Bears offense. Although, the Bears have thrown the ball only 45 times through the first three games. Jones appears to be more of a deep league stash or dynasty hold right now. It's unlikely he has much fantasy value right out of the gate.
Los Angeles Chargers pass rusher Joey Bosa (groin) underwent surgery and is expected to miss roughly 8-10 weeks of action. The star defender suffered a torn groin in Week 3 and was immediately placed on the injured reserve. At this moment, it doesn't sound like Bosa is going to be back until the final month of the season. Luckily, the Chargers have Khalil Mack who has four sacks in three games. They will lean on Mack to do a majority of the damage without Bosa available. The loss of Bosa does make this defense less appealing to fantasy managers looking for a defense to stream.
Arizona Cardinals DL J.J. Watt (calf) is expected to play in Week 4's game versus the Carolina Panthers, according to a source. Watt had been listed as questionable on the injury report after logging just one limited practice session during the week.
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (thumb) is eyeing a potential return for the Week 5 matchup against the Los Angeles Rams. There was a report last week that Prescott was pushing to play in Week 4. However, the organization doesn't want to push it and Week 5 is a more realistic timetable. The 29-year-old underwent surgery following the Week 1 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Cowboys have surprisingly been able to stay afloat with Cooper Rush under center. Although, these offense would obviously improve once Prescott returns.
Carolina Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey (thigh) is expected to play in Week 4's game against the Arizona Cardinals, according to a source.
Fantasy Spin: McCaffrey had been listed as questionable on the injury report after participating in just one of the team's three practice sessions during the week on a limited basis. Although he may not be at 100 percent, he should be a starting option in fantasy leagues if he is declared active. However, owners should have a backup plan in place, in the event that McCaffrey is unable to suit up this week.
Chicago Bears kicker Cairo Santos (personal) won't suit up for the Week 4 matchup against the New York Giants. He missed back-to-back practices this week due to a personal issue. Michael Badgley was added to the practice squad, so he's expected to be the active kicker on Sunday. The Bears offense hasn't been very impressive, so Badgley isn't worth a look in most fantasy formats. There should be better kickers available in Week 4.
Kansas City Chiefs WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling (abdomen) expects to play in Week 4's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, according to a source.
Fantasy Spin: Valdes-Scantling had been listed as questionable on the injury report after participating in two of the team's three practice sessions during the week on a limited basis. He has not had a great season statistically and can be avoided in most fantasy leagues even if he is declared active.
Jacksonville Jaguars WR Zay Jones (ankle) is expected to play in Week 4's game versus the Philadelphia Eagles, according to multiple sources.
Fantasy Spin: Jones had been listed as questionable on the injury report after missing one practice session during the week and being limited in another session. He has posted at least 65 yards in two of his three games this season and could be a potential flex option in fantasy leagues if he is declared active.
Atlanta Falcons RB Cordarrelle Patterson (knee) is pushing to play in Week 4's game against the Cleveland Browns. There is optimism that he will play but he will participate in pregame warmups before a final decision is made on his status, according to a source.
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.
Chicago Bears PK Cairo Santos (personal) has been ruled out for Week 4's game against the New York Giants because of a personal issue. PK Michael Badgley, who was recently signed to the practice squad and then elevated to the active roster, will serve as the team's kicker.
Fantasy Spin: Fantasy owners who have Santos on their roster should be able to find more reliable kicking options on the waiver wire.