Over the weekend, three of the four Minnesota Vikings quarterbacks went into the NFL's COVID-19 protocol, including starter Kirk Cousins. This was obviously vexing to coach Mike Zimmer, who didn't do anything to hide those vexations.
I am disappointed that this happened,” he said. “I’m frustrated with, not just my football players that won’t get vaccinated, I’m frustrated with everybody … It’s disappointing.” He then added the nicest thing anyone's ever said about Jake Browning, the sole quarterback available to practice.
Two days after these comments, the Vikings head man was also tasked with answering questions about why several members of his team are actively playing defense on the the attempt to prepare, it's clear he has no interest in being anything less than forthright with his honest feelings.
There is absolutely no way Zimmer makes it through the preseason, let alone the regular season at this rate without a full-blown Network blowup. And all he's doing is stating the obvious in a way few coaches have been willing to state it. The science is pretty one-sided here and there's more than enough data available for people to study and come to the proper decision. And yet here Minnesota is and here America is, in a sort of purgatory where the inaction of others is the main obstacle standing in the way of real progress.
Take away all the science and politics and consider the plain fact that unvaccinated players present a real risk for sports teams. They are more likely to be unable to perform when called on. There are annoying protocols teams who haven't reached widespread vaccination have to deal with that teams over the threshold don't have to deal with. If you don't think vaccination status isn't going to start impacting salary negotiations, then you're not seeing the whole picture.
Zimmer is noticeably mad as a person and a coach. It's completely understandable as that same type of specific frustration is being shared quite widely against a backdrop of relative hopelessness. His comments sound like they come from someone who has tried to engaged in conversation to see what he can say that will sway hearts and minds, only to find gigantic brick walls reinforced by misinformation. A person who finds themselves in that position knows they can talk until they're blue in the face and it won't do any good. You can lead people to a once-in-a-lifetime medical miracle, but you can't make them roll up their sleeves.
Definitely a hot, bothersome realization.