There are tremendous consequences for any team that suffers a COVID-19 outbreak during the upcoming NFL season, with the league informing teams this week that an unresolved outbreak impacting a game that then can't be rescheduled will force the team dealing with the outbreak to forfeit and take a loss.
According to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero, players from BOTH teams will not be paid if a game is forfeited.
"The NFL just informed clubs that if a game cannot be rescheduled during the 18-week season in 2021 due to a COVID outbreak among unvaccinated players, the team with the outbreak will FORFEIT and be credited with a loss for playoff seeding, per sources.Massive implications.
"And the biggest penalty of all for players:"If a game is cancelled and cannot be rescheduled within the current 18-week scheduled due to a Covid outbreak, neither team’s players will receive their weekly paragraph 5 salary."You read that right: NOBODY GETS PAID."
In a memo sent to each team, the NFL said failing to be ready to play during the 17-game, 18-week regular season is "conduct detrimental." The memo continues: "If a game is cancelled/postponed because a club cannot play due to a Covid spike among or resulting from its non-vaccinated players/staff, then the burden of the cancellation or delay will fall on the club experiencing the Covid infection."
The team dealing with the outbreak will be credited with a loss in the event of a postponement, while the opposing team will be credited with a victory. A forfeit will also negatively affect teams in the draft order and the waiver wire.
The NFL's 2021 health and safety protocols will required vaccinated players/staff who test positive and are asymptomatic to sit out until they test negative twice, 24 hours apart.
Unvaccinated players/staff who tested positive are still required to enter a 10-day isolation period.
It remains unclear how many players/staff from the Minnesota Vikings have been vaccinated. Earlier this summer, wide receiver Adam Thielen said he had not yet received the vaccine, as did safety Harrison Smith. Quarterback Kirk Cousins didn't disclose his vaccination status.
Mike Zimmer is on record warning unvaccinated players of how difficult the season might be for them.
"They're going to be wearing masks, they'll have to social distance, they'll have daily testing, they won't be able to go home for bye week, they'll have to come back here and test everyday, when we go on the road they won't be able to go out to dinner with anybody, they'll have to travel on buses differently, travel on planes differently, a lot of the meetings will be virtual ... not only the safety part of getting vaccinated, but as far as being part of a football team, it's just going to be so much easier," Zimmer said in June.