The Minnesota Vikings are officially suspending their team operations after their Sunday opponent – the Tennessee Titans – identify a COVID-19 outbreak.
The hits just keep on coming during the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, the Tennessee Titans have shut down all activity due to players testing positive. Now, their Sunday opponents – the Minnesota Vikings – will be doing the same. ESPN’s Dan Graziano has the latest:
As Graziano points out, eight of the Titans players/staff have tested positive for COVID-19. And the health agencies in charge of “contract tracing” after outbreaks have identified at least 48 individuals with the Vikings who came in “close contact” with the infected. As a result, the Vikings won’t be back in their facility until every single player – and every single staff member – is tested and their results come in. This could take two days – or it could take two weeks.
COVID hits Vikings – ceases all in-person activity
In an already tumultuous time of losses and uncertainty for the NFL, inability to move forward with anything from training – to the game itself – can be crippling. While losses have been great, the health of players, coaches, and staff should be paramount. Thankfully, ESPN reports this is the case:
“The NFL issued a statement saying both the Titans and Vikings are working with the league and the NFLPA and medical officials “to evaluate close contacts, perform additional testing and monitor developments … with health and safety as our primary consideration.”ESPN
Vikings release official statement
In response to the outbreak, the Minnesota Vikings have released an official statement via their twitter account. Within, their staff lays out the basics of their plan moving forward – and what fans can expect:
“Today, the NFL notified us that members of the Tennessee Titans organization have tested positive for COVID-19. As of this morning, we have not received any positive results from Vikings testing following Sunday’s game. Per the NFL protocol, we will suspend in person club activities and close TCO Performance Center immediately. We will work closely with the NFL and NFL PA to monitor the situation, perform additional testing, and determine when the facility can reopen. We will provide further updates regarding this week’s football schedule when appropriate.”Vikings, Press statement
Thankfully, all players have been a-symptomatic and have not suffered any severe symptoms. While the precautions seem extreme – they are in place to prevent the deaths of any players and/or staff.
Senior players can be particularly vulnerable to coronavirus, too, as all athletes place their bodies under extreme strain, stress, and constant pressure. Knowing this, the NFL – and both the Vikings and Titans – are willing to take all measures to protect their own.
As such, ESPN clarifies protocol to keep players healthy. “Players who test positive for COVID-19 and remain asymptomatic can return 10 days after the test or after five days with two consecutive negative tests within a five-day period,” the network reports. “Those who show symptoms can return 10 days after the symptoms first appear and 72 hours have passed since any symptoms have ended.”
In addition, any players who test positive must be cleared by their team’s physician. Specifically, athletes are required to undergo cardiac testing. COVID-19 is particularly hard on the heart and lungs, and can completely ravage a weak heart.
Whether the Vikings and Titans will be waiting just 10 days – or several weeks – to return to the field, is unknown.