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As NFL Training Camps Open, COVID-19 Looms

Every Minnesota Vikings fan that I have talked to has been getting more and more hyped for rookie Justin Jefferson. However, the Vikings will be without their first round pick to start training camp. Jefferson; along with fellow rookies Brian Cole II, Blake Brandel, and Tyler Higby, have been placed on the COVID-19 list.

The Vikings head athletic trainer, and team infection control officer, Eric Sugarman has also tested positive for the virus. I don’t think it needs to be said that the man who is in charge of making sure all players are tested for COVID getting COVID is not a good thing.

The MLB also opened their season this week and had to cancel several games due to the COVID-19 procedure. The Minnesota Twins, who opened their season against the Chicago White Sox, already have concern as White Sox manager Rick Renteria woke up yesterday with a slight cough and nasal congestion. Obviously, we’re still waiting to hear about Renteria’s test results, but it’s concerning in these times to say the least.

So, what does all this mean for training camp and the NFL regular season? Well, teams have already cancelled all preseason games. Virus infection rates are not dropping and with the country seemingly preparing to open schools again in September, case numbers are going to skyrocket.

I’m not saying that an NFL season couldn’t happen, but fans should brace themselves for the possibility of a shortened or pushed back season. If you can’t control the virus in the game of baseball where players are usually only close for a matter of seconds, how are you supposed to control it in a sport where players are grabbing each other, sweating, spitting, even bleeding on each other for 60 minutes?

Now, I’m not doctor, if I was I wouldn’t be writing this at 9:20 am on a Tuesday, but it’s obvious even to me that we are a long way away from controlling this virus from a vaccine/treatment side. Until that happens, the game of football is in jeopardy. You can’t rely on players to make the right call and not make stupid decisions, just look at the NBA’s Lou Williams and Dwight Howard.

This is of course sad for fans whose life revolves around sports, I am one of those people. However, the safety and well-being of players and coaches, and their families, should stand above all entertainment gleaned from any professional sports league.

So, the Minnesota Vikings, who are coming off a 10-6 season and a playoff victory, who brought in 27 new rookies, may lose this year. That is terrible, but I’d rather have that them lose a small percentage of NFL players and possibly their partners and children.

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Kirby O'Connor

Kirby O'Connor is a graduate of Saint Mary's University of Minnesota, where he studied Electronic Publishing and minored in Art. Kirby is a lifelong, die-hard Vikings fan thanks to his father. You can find him on Twitter @kjocon14.

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