Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins has something of an odd relationship with the coronavirus.
While the disease has claimed the lives of nearly 740,000 Americans (per the CDC), Cousins has been adamant in actively avoiding receiving a publicly available coronavirus vaccination to save himself, and his teammates, the trouble and headaches of close contacts.
While the NFL and Cousins’ coach, Mike Zimmer, has urged its players to get vaccinated, the league has strict protocols in place to protect against the spread of COVID-19 for players, and to keep them safe while games are played in 2021.
In any case, the veteran QB has taken the road less traveled (among NFL players, at least) and has seemingly spurned the jab as the season has progressed, and has had many, many comments on the virus and the vaccine since 2020.
Here’s the latest on the Cousins and his vaccination stance:
Is Kirk Cousins vaccinated?
Much to the chagrin of Mike Zimmer, Cousins seemingly isn’t vaccinated against COVID-19.
While Cousins hasn’t explicitly stated he is vaccinated or unvaccinated, his placement on the NFL’s COVID-19 list as a “close contact” in August deems that he is, in fact, unvaccinated. Players who are vaccinated cannot be labeled as “close contacts.”
The quarterback deems it a “very private health matter,” but has not offered reasons why he has yet to receive the shot. Cousins has said that he’s “at peace” with his decision.
Cousins has said he’s planning to follow all the protocols the NFL has set forth to avoid landing as close contact again, which hasn’t happened since he was placed on the COVID-19 list in August.
Kirk Cousins’ vaccine comments
July 2020: Cousins’ first comments on COVID-19 came in July 2020, before the vaccine was widely available to the public. The Vikings quarterback made it clear that he had minimal concerns about the coronavirus with a now-famed quote coming off of Kyle Brandt’s “10 Questions” Podcast.
I want to respect what other people’s concerns are. For me personally, just talking no one else can get the virus, what is your concern if you could get it, I would say I’m gonna go about my daily life. If I get it, I’m gonna ride it out. I’m gonna let nature do its course. Survival-of-the-fittest kind of approach. And just say, if it knocks me out, it knocks me out. I’m going to be OK. You know, even if I die. If I die, I die. I kind of have peace about that.
Elsewhere in the podcast, Cousins said that he has minimal concerns over COVID-19 and said that he wouldn’t be wearing a mask.
Sept. 2020: He would later walk back his comments, saying that he would take in the necessary precautions throughout the NFL season to try and
Aug. 2021: Fast forward to the upcoming season, and Cousins is placed on the COVID-19 list, deemed as a “close contact” to quarterback Kellen Mond, who had tested positive for the virus.
Aug. 5, 2021: In a 10-minute press conference, Cousins says he plans to be “vigilant” surrounding the coronavirus, saying he’ll do “whatever it takes” to avoid catching COVID-19, including a very strange “solution” to the problem:
Kirk Cousins, who refuses to get vaccinated, says he’s willing to sit inside a plexiglass structure at work to avoid getting infected with Covid pic.twitter.com/ywZlo4SaXH
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) August 6, 2021
“So, I’m going to be vigilant about avoiding a close contact. I’ve even thought about, should I even set up, literally, Plexiglas around where I sit, so that this could never happen again? I thought about it, ’cause I’m gonna do whatever it takes.”
In the press conference, Cousins says he has yet to speak with the NFL’s chief medical officer, Dr. Allen Sills, regarding the vaccination.
Aug. 6, 2021: Holland Hospital in Holland, MI., drops Cousins as a spokesman, citing that Cousins’ stance on the COVID-19 vaccine is not one that aligns with the hospital’s values.
“While we acknowledge that each person is entitled to their own viewpoints, those who speak on our behalf must support messages that align with the hospital’s position on matters of vital importance to individual and community health. For this reason, Holland Hospital will discontinue using Kirk Cousins as our spokesperson for now. We are proud of our association with Kirk. He embodies many values we respect and share as part of our work culture. However, we must be certain that our communications about COVID vaccination are consistent and unequivocal.”
Aug. 25. 2021: Dr. Michael Osterholm (Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at University of Minnesota) speaks with the Vikings regarding the coronavirus vaccine. Cousins says the meeting was “informative” and that “it was what it was.”
Monday, Dr. Michael Osterholm (Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at University of Minnesota) spoke with the Minnesota #Vikings to discuss COVID-19 vaccines. Today, Vikings QB Kirk Cousins called the meeting “informative.” pic.twitter.com/3xG56g7S2d
— Nᴏʀᴍᴀɴ Sᴇᴀᴡʀɪɢʜᴛ III (@SeawrightSays) August 25, 2021