The Minnesota Vikings organization brought in Dr. Michael Osterholm, a renowned epidemiologist and infectious disease expert, to talk with the team this week.
The Vikings’ COVID-19 vaccination rate has lagged behind other NFL teams. Osterholm has been pushing vaccinations as COVID-19’s Delta variant continues to spread, saying the virus will catch up with people who are unvaccinated.
Quarterback Kirk Cousins, who has stated he chooses “to keep my medical history private,” was put on the reserve/COVID-19 list in early August. He said he was deemed a close contact to rookie quarterback Kellen Mond, who tested positive for the virus.
Cousins refused to disclose his vaccination status, saying that he’s following “protocols.”
“The protocols work, masks works, social distancing works,” he said. “I’m at peace with where I’m at and I’ll follow the protocols vigilantly.”
Cousins reacted to the conversation with the doctor.
“It was a great meeting. It was informative. And it was what it was,” Cousins said on Wednesday afternoon.
Head coach Mike Zimmer said Osterholm did “a terrific job” at a press conference Monday.
“I thought he was very good with his points, answered a lot of questions. Whether or not that changes anything, I don’t know,” Zimmer said. “I care about these players and I care about their families, and so that’s my main reason. If they miss a game because they get COVID, so be it. But I don’t want them to get sick and I don’t want their families to get sick and their kids to get sick or my grandkids to get sick.”
Earlier this month, Cousins lost a partnership with a hospital after his comments about the vaccine.
“As the trusted health care leader along the lakeshore, we are committed to providing accurate, timely health information and guidance based on guidelines from the CDC and medical experts,” a statement from the hospital read.
“For this reason, Holland Hospital will discontinue using Kirk Cousins as our spokesperson for now,” the statement continued.