Monday's matchup between the Minnesota Vikings and the Chicago Bears may have some fresh faces as the NFL deals with its COVID-19 breakout.
After placing 12 players on the COVID-19 reserve list earlier this week, the Vikings were without four coaches on Thursday as the virus continues to go through the Minnesota locker room.
Senior defensive assistant Paul Guenther and three strength coaches are away from the team after testing positive for the virus. They join a growing list of players that have been placed on the list which most notably included running back Alexander Mattison, wide receiver Dede Westbrook and defensive end Danielle Hunter, who is out for the season with a pectoral injury.
Mattison will miss Monday's game against the Bears due to his unvaccinated status but he won't be the only player missing from the sidelines.
The Bears had their own rash of positive tests on Thursday with six players being placed on the COVID-19 reserve list. That includes wide receiver Allen Robinson and defensive back Eddie Jackson.
Chicago could also be without all three coordinators on Monday night with offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, defensive coordinator Sean Desai and special teams coordinator Chris Tabor conducting team meetings remotely according to Bears head coach Matt Nagy.
Both teams' issues are part of a league-wide trend that has seen COVID cases spike due to the omicron variant. The NFL announced on Thursday that all 32 teams will be placed into intensive COVID-19 protocols which include a mandate on wearing a mask and limitations on the road and outside of the team facility.
The league is also instituting changes in its COVID-19 policy to ensure that players who are vaccinated and asymptomatic can return to practice and games if they have...
- Two PCR tests that are either negative or produce a cycle threshold (CT) value of 35 or greater.
- One PCR test that is negative produces a CT value of 35 or greater and a negative Mesa test result taken with 24 hours of the PCR test.
- Two negative Mesa tests
The Vikings currently have the second-most players placed on the COVID list in the NFL this season with 24. Minnesota also came into the season with the lowest vaccination rate in the league and has seen starters Harrison Smith, Dalvin Tomlinson and Garrett Bradbury miss time.