The Vikings have placed backup cornerback Harrison Hand on the Reserve/COVID-19 list, the team announced on Wednesday afternoon. Hand becomes Minnesota's first player to go on the COVID list during the regular season. He is unvaccinated, so he'll miss at least five or ten days, depending on whether he tested positive or was a close contact to someone who did.
It's unclear if anyone else will needed to be added as a close contact. If any unvaccinated players were to be deemed close contacts to Hand — like, say, safety Harrison Smith — they would miss at least five days, which would keep them out for this Sunday's game against the Seahawks. Again, I don't know if that will be the case, but those are the protocols. Unvaccinated players are required to wear masks when indoors and maintain six feet of social distance in order to avoid picking up a close contact designation.
Hand played 22 snaps on special teams in Week 1 but missed last Sunday's game with a hamstring injury. The 2020 fifth-round pick out of Temple played in 14 games as a rookie, including 163 snaps on defense. Hand intercepted Drew Brees in Week 16 and got his first career start against the Lions in Week 17.
After a strong performance in OTAs and minicamp this year, Hand was gaining plenty of buzz as a player to keep an eye on. But at a cornerback position where the Vikings have plenty of veteran depth, he will likely on see time this season if starting slot corner Mackensie Alexander were to get hurt.
Most of the Vikings players who we know are unvaccinated are established stars or at least starters. That's not the case with Hand, although it didn't keep him from earning a spot on the 53-man roster this year.
Hopefully, this is a one-off thing and the Vikings won't need to add anyone else to the COVID list in the coming days.
The Vikings had numerous players go on the COVID list last season, prior to the vaccine being available. Kirk Cousins, Kellen Mond, and several others spent time on the list during training camp this year.
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