Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins has withstood the pressure to change his opinion on the COVID vaccine after meeting with an epidemiologist.
The team had invited Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, to answer questions and urge the players to get vaccinated. The Vikings are said to have one of the NFL’s lowest vaccination rates.
Osterholm, who has faced criticism for his alarmist messaging, evidently did not persuade Cousins to change his stance on the vaccine.
“It was a great meeting. It was informative. And it was what it was,” Cousins said in response to a reporter asking what he took away from the meeting.
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
The Vikings quarterback appears to be standing strong in his skepticism, even after facing endless media criticism, losing a hometown sponsor, and dealing with the NFL’s restrictive COVID protocols.
Earlier this month Holland Hospital in Holland, Michigan, announced it was cutting ties with Cousins over his vaccine stance. The hospital wrote in a statement that its spokespersons “must support messages that align with the hospital’s position on matters of vital importance to individual and community health.”
Shortly before the sponsor loss, Cousins was forced to miss four Vikings practices after coming into close contact with a teammate who tested positive for COVID. The team had to place him on the COVID list even though he was perfectly healthy and never tested positive.
“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,” he said at a press conference upon returning. The quarterback added that he’s floated the idea of installing plexiglass around his locker to avoid a similar situation in the future, implying he will do whatever he can to keep testing negative while continuing to refuse vaccination.
The NFL is maintaining strict COVID protocols for the 2021 season. Both vaccinated and unvaccinated players and coaches who test positive will be required to miss practices or games until they receive two negative test results within a 48-hour window. The league has also mandated a quarantine length of ten days.