A player on the Minnesota Vikings was reportedly hospitalized due to COVID-19 symptoms. Vikings coach Mike Zimmer confirmed a player went to the emergency room Tuesday night due to shortness of breath.
That player was still in the hospital Wednesday, though Zimmer said the player is "stable now." Zimmer added the situation "was scary."
Zimmer declined to name the player, but said the player was vaccinated, according to NFL.com.
"One of our players that was vaccinated, he had to go to the ER last night because of COVID. It's serious stuff," coach Mike Zimmer told reporters Wednesday. "Like 29 guys are getting tested because of close contact, including myself."
The Vikings are dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak. The team placed three players — center Garrett Bradbury, guard Dakota Dozier and safety Harrison Smith — on the Reserve/COVID-19 list Thursday. The team placed two additional players — linebacker Ryan Connelly and practice squad tackle Timon Parris — on that list Monday.
As a result of those positives, Zimmer said over 20 members of the club will get tested for COVID-19 because they are close contacts. Vaccinated individuals who are considered close contacts do not have to immediately quarantine under NFL protocols. Those individuals only have to quarantine if they test positive for COVID-19.
That protocol allowed Jordan Love to start for the Green Bay Packers in Week 9 despite being a close contact with Aaron Rodgers, who missed the game due to COVID-19. Love, who is vaccinated, did not test positive for COVID-19 before the start and was allowed to play. Vikings players who are vaccinated will follow the same path in Week 10.
Mike Zimmer, Vikings owner urged players to get vaccinated in preseason
Zimmer, who is vaccinated, was outspoken about players on the team receiving a COVID-19 vaccine before the start of the season. Zimmer expressed displeasure when the team lost three of its four quarterbacks to COVID-19 protocols during the preseason. The team's starter, Kirk Cousins, is among the most vocal unvaccinated players on the roster.
Team owner Mark Wilf echoed Zimmer's statements in August, saying he was "very concerned" about player health. That month, it was reported the Vikings had the lowest vaccination rate in the NFL. A few weeks later, the team brought in infectious disease experts to persuade players to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.