Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer was candid once again Monday when discussing – for the second time in 48 hours – why some players on the team refuse to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
The topic is top of mind at training camp in Eagan since rookie quarterback Kellen Mond tested positive for COVID, subsequently sending not only him, but also high-risk close contacts Kirk Cousins and Nate Stanley to the Reserve/COVID-19 list.
All three quarterbacks weren't available for Saturday night's practice, and they remain out for an unknown period of time this week. Asked if he knows when Cousins and company can return to practice, Zimmer said "no."
Zimmer then questioned why players are refusing to get vaccinated against a disease that has killed at least 4.23 million people around the world in the past 18 months.
"There's quite a few guys that are just against it. I'm not going to be able to change their mind. Just like half the country, I guess," Zimmer said.
"These guys, some of them just won't do it. I shouldn't say it, but some of the things they've read are just, woof, out there," the coach added. "It's their belief, so whatever they've heard or read or been told, or maybe they don't believe what Dr. [Allen] Sills and the NFL is telling them. I don't know."
Jake Browning was the only quarterback available for Saturday's practice. Mond tested positive so he's automatically out, and any unvaccinated players who are potentially exposed to someone with the virus are forced into mandatory quarantine.
It's a clear signal that Cousins and Stanley haven't been vaccinated, whereas Browning has been. It's a reality that Zimmer is trying to accept, though he questioned whether team leaders who miss games that ultimately become losses could lead to issues in the locker room.
"I just don't understand. I just don't understand," Zimmer said. "I think we could put this thing to bed if we'd all do this [get vaccinated], but it is what it is."
You can watch back his press conference below.