While there still may be some argument from players about the frequency of testing, or other considerations, it’s also clear that teams are taking many steps to make the workplace as safe as possible to return in the next few days.
The steps that Vikings head athletic trainer and now infection control officer Eric Sugarman outlined to Peter King of NBC’s Football Morning in America detail how far the team is going to keep players socially distanced and as safe as possible when so many are in confined spaces.
But Sugarman pointed out the one variable that he can’t control — what happens when players leave the facility.
“The only way we can beat this is through education,” Sugarman said. “The team that really takes responsibility for their actions is the team that has the competitive advantage. There is no year in my career that that’s ever been truer than this year.”
During an NFLPA conference call last week, Rams left tackle Andrew Whitworth revealed that he, his wife, and children came down with COVID-19 after one family member went to a lunch and came home and infected the entire crowd.
“If it runs through the team, we end up not being able to play,” Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph said. “If there’s one thing that can ruin a team, it’s the flu, or a virus like this.”
The Vikings have known their share of off-field adventures, and it’s unrealistic to think that a bunch of 20-somethings around the league will maintain the kind of discipline that their non-football peers don’t always show in public. There’s also the matter of family members maintaining the same kind of mindfulness, and the Vikings are having a meeting for them at the start of camp to make sure the message is clear.