Kirk Cousins won’t have to worry about trying to improve his primetime record in the Minnesota Vikings‘ rematch against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers on Sunday evening, because he won’t be on the field to do it. Cousins has been moved to the Vikings’ reserve/COVID-19 list after testing positive on Friday, the team announced, and regardless of his vaccination status (he’s unvaccinated), considering the game kicks off in just two days — he doesn’t have enough time to clear protocols.
Even if Cousins were vaccinated, new NFL protocols would require a possible five-day quarantine, and he lands on the reserve list after reportedly showed signs of symptoms before self-reporting to the team.
It’s a massive blow to the Vikings, as they enter Week 17 still in the NFC playoff hunt, and it swings the coming contest wildly in favor of a Packers team hoping to win their final two regular season games to clinch the No. 1 seed in the conference going into the playoffs. Without Cousins, head coach Mike Zimmer will have to immediately pivot to naming either Kyle Sloter or rookie third-round pick Kellen Mond as starter, assuming Sean Mannion — who tested positive five days ago — doesn’t clear the COVID-19 protocol in time.
If Mannion is cleared, Zimmer will at least have three QB options, but none give them the same odds of pulling off the upset (and landing the 2021 sweep of the Packers) as Cousins does. Sitting at 7-8 on the season with two games remaining, the Vikings sit in the eighth spot of a bracket that will allow the top seven teams into the tournament. If Cousins is still showing symptoms with no improvement next week, it puts his availability for the regular season finale against the Chicago Bears in question as well.
It’s news that sends shockwaves throughout the NFC playoff picture, and might be the end of the Vikings’ playoff hopes, unless one of Cousins’ backups can stun the world in primetime.