Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer sounded off on Saturday after the news that the team will be without three quarterbacks including Kirk Cousins for Saturday night's practice at TCO Stadium.
Zimmer addressed the media after rookie quarterback Kellen Mond reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 and expressed frustration with the situation.
"This Delta variant is rough," Zimmer said. "You can see the cases going up. For the sake of everybody, it's important but some don't see it that way."
Zimmer later heaped praise on backup quarterback Jake Browning, who will reportedly take all of the reps on Saturday night.
"Jake is really smart. He's vaccinated," Zimmer said. "That helps to be the backup. He's going to get a ton of reps tonight...he's out there. He's available. It's important to be available in a team sport."
The vaccination issue has already played a big role in training camp. Rick Dennison was reassigned from offensive line coach to senior offensive advisor after refusing to receive the vaccine last week. While Tier 1 coaches such as Dennison were required to get the vaccine, the NFL does not have a mandate for players to get vaccinated.
Cousins did not indicate whether he has received the vaccine but told reporters during minicamp that he would keep his medical records private.
The Vikings also sent out a photo of Cousins wearing a mask when he reported to camp on Tuesday, a potential sign that he was following the NFL's guidelines for unvaccinated players.
Zimmer said during June's minicamp that unvaccinated players would have "a harder time" this upcoming season and doubled down at the start of training camp saying it's extremely important for everyone to get vaccinated but that the players make their own decisions.
Zimmer was unsure when Cousins would return from quarantine but said he would do "whatever the league tells us." According to NFL league protocols, Cousins is to miss at least five days as a high-risk close contact.
With two weeks to go before the Aug. 14 preseason opener against Denver, the Vikings have time to recover but that hasn't eased the concerns of their head coach.
"Quite honestly, after everything we went through last year, I’m not surprised one bit," Zimmer said. "I am disappointed that this happened. I’m frustrated, not just with my football players who didn’t get vaccinated, but I’m frustrated with everybody [who didn't]."