NFL teams can’t force players to get vaccinated, but Vikings coach Mike Zimmer is making clear to his players that they’ll have an easier time this season if they get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Zimmer listed the reasons players should get the vaccine after the Vikings met today with Dr. Allen Sills, the NFL’s chief medical officer.
“He talked to them a lot about the vaccine, how safe it is, how it became tested,” Zimmer said, via Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press. “He talked to them about what the protocols will be next fall, which we should hear in the next couple of days. He talked to them about why they should. . . . We’re just trying to educate these guys. They have to make their own decisions.”
Aside from the obvious health reasons that everyone should get the COVID-19 vaccine, Zimmer detailed the reasons NFL players in particular should get their shots.
“The unvaccinated players are going to have a harder time in the season,” Zimmer said. “They’re going to be wearing masks, they’ll have to social distance. They’ll have daily testings. They won’t be able to go home for bye week. They’ll have to come back here and test every day. When we go on the road, they won’t be able to go out to dinner with anybody. They’ll have to travel on buses differently, travel on planes differently. A lot of the meetings will be virtual like this, so there’s not only the safety part of being vaccinated, but as far as being part of a football team, it’s just going to be so much easier.”
Zimmer said he’s finding it easier to communicate with his fellow coaches this year now that they’re fully vaccinated and not wearing masks and distancing the way they did last year. He’s hoping his players will do their jobs and make this season easier for the entire team.