It's not too difficult to understand why Mike Zimmer is so frustrated with the Vikings' unvaccinated players. There are a lot of them, and many of them play important roles on the field. That creates a major competitive disadvantage in a season where Zimmer's job could be on line if his team doesn't bounce back and at least reach the playoffs.
The Vikings currently have the lowest vaccination rate in the entire NFL, according to Nicki Jhabvala of the Washington Post. Just 64.5 percent of their players are fully vaccinated, with 70 percent in the process. Those percentages suggest that 32 of Minnesota's 90 players are not fully vaccinated and 27 have not received a single shot.
Contrast those percentages with the league's overall rate and the picture isn't pretty. The Vikings' roster, which holds around 3.1 percent of the league's players, features 10.6 percent of the NFL's unvaccinated players.
Among the Vikings' group of unvaccinated players are at least five projected starters, per Chad Graff of The Athletic.
Quarterback Kirk Cousins is the most notable player whose unvaccinated status has been confirmed. He has never missed a game since becoming a starter, but that could change this year. Already, Cousins has entered a five-day minimum isolation period during camp after being classified as a high-risk close contact when rookie QB Kellen Mond tested positive for COVID. QBs Cousins, Mond, and Nate Stanley are all unvaccinated and on the Reserve/COVID list right now, forcing the Vikings to sign a couple passers off the street in Case Cookus and Danny Etling.
It's not known exactly which other projected starters are unvaccinated, but there are at least four of them. Adam Thielen, Harrison Smith, and Sheldon Richardson all said they were not vaccinated back in mid-June, but that could have changed since then.
There have been multiple reports — from KFAN's Paul Allen and now Graff as well — that the Vikings have at least one, if not several players who would rather sit out the season or quit football entirely than receive the vaccine.
That's why Zimmer is so concerned. He knows there are players whose minds he won't be able to change, and he's worried that will lead to them missing games. That, in turn, could cause losses and fracture the locker room.
Cornerback Patrick Peterson, on his podcast All Things Covered, shared his reasoning for getting vaccinated.
The refusal of players to get vaccinated is something that legitimately threatens to derail a promising season for the 2021 Vikings.
Thanks for reading. Make sure to bookmark this site and check back daily for the latest Vikings news and analysis all season long. Also, follow me on Twitter and feel free to ask me any questions on there.