- The NFLPA will look to bring back daily COVID-19 testing for all players.
- This could increase the likelihood of forfeits if players catch COVID-19, as they will be caught on the tests.
- Some teams have shown reticence to vaccination efforts, which should affect their odds.
MINNEAPOLIS - The NFLPA is set to recommend that COVID-19 testing resume for all players - whether or not they’ve been vaccinated against the virus.
With the Delta Variant of COVID-19 surging in America, and the potential for further variants down the line, this plan makes some sense. However, it could bring to light a conflict between the agenda of the players union, and some of the players that compose it.
Similarly, it could seriously impact betting odds, especially on NFL team O/U’s.
More Testing Means More Positives
The more people that are tested for COVID-19, the more people will be found positive. This is an obvious statement - if people aren’t being tested, they won’t be found positive.
The vaccines seem to be effective at preventing severe symptoms from COVID-19, but are not full inoculation - people who get the vaccine can still get, and spread, COVID-19 - it’s just significantly less likely to happen, and if it does happen, it won’t be as bad.
In the context of the NFL, this is important because the NFL’s COVID-19 policy entering the 2021 season is that teams will have to forfeit if they are unable to field a team due to a COVID-19 outbreak.
Taken together, these policies mean that there could be teams that are dinged during the season for players having COVID despite high vaccination rates among the team.
However, the far more interesting case is the teams that have low vaccination rates, as the vaccine does have a preventative effect that is not present in teams that are flouting vaccine guidelines.
Is It Time To Fade The Vikings?
The Minnesota Vikings have not had a great summer. Coach Mike Zimmer has been adamant that he prefers his players to be vaccinated, which makes sense from the standpoint of a guy who wants to win games.
"I just feel like we're going to have guys miss games," said Zimmer. "There are so many cases going on right now. We're going to have guys miss some games and we have to be prepared for it."
It swiftly became clear that the “guys” Zimmer referred to included QB Kirk Cousins, who was placed on the COVID-19 reserve list alongside fellow QBs Kellen Mond and Nate Stanley on Sunday.
While Cousins himself did not test positive for COVID-19 (Mond did, and Cousins was a close contact), he has become the story.
Cousins seems to have made it clear that he does not want to be vaccinated, preferring distancing and, potentially, plexiglass, as options.
Kirk Cousins, who isn't vaccinated, says he'll continue to follow all protocols, the team is getting a bigger QB room so he won't be a close contact & he might even put plexiglass around where he is in the facility. Says key is to not be a close contact. pic.twitter.com/4PwJaVuJHa
— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) August 5, 2021
Cousins referred to the decision to get vaccinated as a personal matter, and claimed that he has been doing research on his own.
Kirk Cousins says he's been doing a lot of research. When asked if he's made contact with Dr. Allen Sills, he says no
— Arif Hasan, training camp attender 🏕️ (@ArifHasanNFL) August 5, 2021
The reason this matters is because Cousins just missed four days of practice - and would have missed a game if this had happened during the regular season.
Minnesota Vikings Wins O/U 2021
- Over 8.5 (-115)
- Under 8.5 (-105)
It also matters because the Vikings have one of the lowest vaccination rates in the league, which increases the chances that players will miss games due to the protocols - which, with daily testing, will be even more present than expected.
Say what you want about Cousins, he’s a solid NFL quarterback, and losing him would hurt the Vikings - and with around 30% of their roster unvaccinated, there could be more absences coming.
Odds To Win The NFC North
- Green Bay Packers -145
- Minnesota Vikings +250
- Chicago Bears +450
- Detroit Lions +2000
All of this does not paint a comforting picture for any online gambler who wagered on the Vikings - especially a line like the wins o/u.
Still, it’s not the end of the world, and with a little luck it could end up not matter. The odds, however, are not in Cousins - or the Vikings - favor.