An Unwelcome Guest Has Returned to the Vikings Locker Room. Plus, Injury Updates Ahead of Week 3

Sep 19, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) in the second half against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Billy Hardiman-USA TODAY Sports

After a turbulent 2020 season surrounded by COVID fears, the virus has shown its ugly face once again in the Minnesota Vikings locker room. Harrison Hand has officially been put on the COVID list, meaning there is doubt that he will suit up on Sunday against the Seahawks.

Hand is coming off a DNP week after a hamstring injury held him out of Minnesota’s week two loss. He was also limited to special teams during week one, but made a few very nice plays to contain the Bengals  return game.

While Hand himself has not made a massive impact on the Viking squad, this COVID contraction could inadvertently throw a wrench into Minnesota’s plans of getting their season back on track. After starting 0-2, Minnesota is in dire need of a win against Seattle.

However, given the nature of COVID and NFL locker rooms, this may be a ticking time bomb situation. Once one man goes down, a whole slew could be behind him. Whether that’s other players or even just coaches, it could completely change the outcome of this week. Just look at the New Orleans Saints who had eight members of the coaching staff miss this game, and they made a complete 180-degree turn against Carolina.

Hopefully this is an isolated incident, but with the Vikings having the lowest vaccination rate in the NFL, that might take a miracle.

It’s not all bad news for the purple and gold, though, assuming they can avoid a COVID hiccup. The Vikings seem to be on the right track in regards to their injury luck. After seeming hobbled for parts of last week’s game, Dalvin Cook’s status does not seem to be up in the air, and after some R&R, he’ll be ready to go this weekend.

Cook returns to practice on Wednesday for at least some light work, and along with him, two keys to Minnesota’s defense make their returns: LB Anthony Barr and DE Everson Griffen. Barr has missed both games to begin the year with a lingering knee injury after a pectoral tear kept him out for almost all of 2020.

Griffen on the other hand was concussed during a freak car accident as he attempted to avoid hitting a deer. In pure Vikings luck, he was on his way to the practice facility when it happened, and the injury forced him to miss week 2. After a one-year hiatus from Minnesota, Griffen’s return was noticed in week 1 against Cincinnati. His pass-rushing skills helped keep Joe Burrow uncomfortable in the pocket, and if he’s good to go this weekend, he’ll be very useful against the elusive Russell Wilson.