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Vikings QBs Kirk Cousins calls his vaccination status private, promises to be 'vigilant'

The Vikings starter told reporters he is "at peace with where I'm at," and said he would continue to follow team and NFL protocols.

EAGAN, Minn. — Calling his vaccination status a private matter, Vikings starting quarterback Kirk Cousins told reporters Thursday that he is "at peace with where I'm at" in regards to COVID and said he would remain "vigilant" for the upcoming season. 

Cousins met with the media shortly after the Vikings announced that he and quarterback Nate Stanley are back on the active roster following a stint on the team's Reserve/COVID-19 list.

Both players were put on the list on Monday after having been deemed as high risk close contacts with teammate QB Kellen Mond, who had tested positive for COVID-19.

Cousins did not confirm or deny that he is unvaccinated when repeatedly asked by reporters.

"I think the vaccination decision is a very private health matter for me, and I'm going to keep it as such," the veteran quarterback said resolutely. "I do believe that as a leader of the team, it's very important to follow the protocols and avoid the close contact because that is what it's going to come down to... did you have a close contact?"

Cousins blamed his stint on the COVID list on the size of a meeting room he sat in with Mond, and said he will be "vigilant" in avoiding a similar scenario by meeting in larger rooms, or even "under a goal post outside in January" if it means the Vikings making the playoffs. 

"I'm going to be vigilant about avoiding a close contact," Cousins insisted. "I've even thought about 'Should I just set up literally plexiglass around where I sit,' so this could never happen again. I've thought about it, 'cause I'm going to do whatever it takes." 

Cousins says he's had six negative tests since his exposure to Mond, and is showing absolutely no symptoms of COVID. "It was disappointing to miss practice, in  my entire college and pro career I have not missed four practices, so to miss four practices in one week and not have COVID was frustrating, disappointing." 

Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer has been publicly frustrated with the team's COVID struggles, especially the situation with Cousins, but the QB insists he and Zimmer are fine. 

"We had a tremendous conversation last night, great dialogue," Cousins told reporters when asked about his relationship with the coach. "I'll leave my discussion with him 'with him,' but it was a very positive discussion, came away feeling great." 

In a move corresponding with the return of Cousins and Stanley to the active roster, the team also announced that they have waived QB Case Cookus, who they signed Monday to take practice reps in the absence of the three quarterbacks. 

At this time Mond, considered Cousins' heir apparent, remains on the Reserve/COVID-19 list as he actually tested positive for the virus. 

Having quarantined since Saturday, both Cousins and Stanley are now eligible to return to the Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center. They'll join QBs Jake Browning and recent roster addition Danny Etling as the Vikings gear up for a scrimmage at U.S. Bank Stadium on Aug. 7, and a joint practice session with the Denver Broncos on Aug. 11-12. Tickets for both can be found on the Vikings website.

Head Coach Mike Zimmer hasn't shied away from showing his dissatisfaction in the past couple days after the Washington Post reported that the Vikings have the lowest vaccination rate in the NFL. 

"Some of them just won't do it," said Zimmer earlier this week. "Some of the things they read are out there. It's their belief, so whatever they've heard or read or been told. Maybe they don't believe what [NFL chief medical officer Dr. Allen Sills] told them either."

Vikings co-owner Mark Wilf also made several comments this week in a press conference Tuesday.

"We're concerned," Wilf said. "It's safe to say our number one priority is the health and safety of our players, our coaches and staff, and ultimately the entire community."

With the potential ramifications looming of COVID-19's impact on the season, Wilf and the rest of team ownership made it clear that they want players to take the vaccine, both for competitive and health reasons. 

"We really come about it from that standpoint, making sure we educated and get the facts to everybody so they can make the right decision," Wilf said. "We want to encourage vaccinations."  

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