Vikings hosting epidemiologist as guest speaker amid Mike Zimmer's frustrations over low vaccination rate


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Vikings hosting epidemiologist as guest speaker amid Mike Zimmer's frustrations over low vaccination rate
1 min read
Vikings hosting epidemiologist as guest speaker amid Mike Zimmer's frustrations over low vaccination rate

Vikings coach Mike Zimmer has gone on record several times expressing displeasure over his team's COVID-19 vaccination rate, which ranked last among NFL teams earlier this month. Team owner Mark Wilf has done the same, saying he's "very concerned" not just for unvaccinated players who will be forced to follow stricter protocols, but for the "health and safety" of the community. Now, the team is welcoming an epidemiologist and infectious disease expert as a guest speaker to further educate players on COVID-19 and the vaccine.

That's according to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero, who reported Monday that Dr. Michael Osterholm will speak to the Vikings to start this week's set of training camp practices. Osterholm is a Midwest native, born in Iowa and an alumnus of the University of Minnesota, but has a national presence as a member of President Joe Biden's COVID-19 Advisory Board. He currently serves as Regents Professor and the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.

Osterholm's guest appearance comes hours after NBC Sports' Peter King reported that Zimmer's frustrations over the Vikings' vaccine embrace -- or lack thereof -- are verging on apathy.

Many have waved the white flag and feel like, We've done what we can do, and if they get the disease, it's on them. Time to coach football. Zimmer's in that school. "I went pretty hard there for a while with our quarterback, and a bunch of other guys, good players, who are not vaccinated," Zimmer said. "I've said my piece. They've got their heels dug in. I think it would've showed them what could happen when we had one quarterback for practice and we had to bring in two guys off the street. But they're not gonna change. I just said the heck with it. I'm done talking about it."

Starting QB Kirk Cousins is among notable Vikings who have publicly said they are unvaccinated entering the 2021 season. Wide receiver Adam Thielen and safety Harrison Smith, two other Pro Bowl starters, are reportedly in the same camp.

Vikings hosting epidemiologist as guest speaker amid Mike Zimmer's frustrations over low vaccination rate
Vikings hosting epidemiologist as guest speaker amid Mike Zimmer's frustrations over low vaccination rate
Vikings hosting epidemiologist as guest speaker amid Mike Zimmer's frustrations over low vaccination rate
Vikings hosting epidemiologist as guest speaker amid Mike Zimmer's frustrations over low vaccination rate
Vikings hosting epidemiologist as guest speaker amid Mike Zimmer's frustrations over low vaccination rate
Vikings hosting epidemiologist as guest speaker amid Mike Zimmer's frustrations over low vaccination rate
  • Vikings hosting epidemiologist as guest speaker amid Mike Zimmer's frustrations over low vaccination rate
  • Vikings hosting epidemiologist as guest speaker amid Mike Zimmer's frustrations over low vaccination rate
  • Vikings hosting epidemiologist as guest speaker amid Mike Zimmer's frustrations over low vaccination rate
  • Vikings hosting epidemiologist as guest speaker amid Mike Zimmer's frustrations over low vaccination rate
  • Vikings hosting epidemiologist as guest speaker amid Mike Zimmer's frustrations over low vaccination rate
  • Vikings hosting epidemiologist as guest speaker amid Mike Zimmer's frustrations over low vaccination rate
  • Vikings hosting epidemiologist as guest speaker amid Mike Zimmer's frustrations over low vaccination rate
  • Vikings hosting epidemiologist as guest speaker amid Mike Zimmer's frustrations over low vaccination rate
  • Vikings hosting epidemiologist as guest speaker amid Mike Zimmer's frustrations over low vaccination rate
  • Vikings hosting epidemiologist as guest speaker amid Mike Zimmer's frustrations over low vaccination rate