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Minnesota Vikings plan to reopen practice facility Thursday
2:11 PM ET
  • Courtney CroninESPN Staff Writer

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      Covered the 49ers, Raiders and Warriors for the San Jose Mercury News. She joined ESPN in 2017.

MINNEAPOLIS — The Vikings are planning to reopen their practice facility Thursday after a coronavirus outbreak involving their Week 3 opponent forced it to be shut down Tuesday and Wednesday out of an abundance of caution.

The Tennessee Titans had five staff members and three players test positive for COVID-19 following Sunday’s victory against the Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium. An additional Titans player tested positive Wednesday.

Minnesota head athletic trainer Eric Sugarman said Vikings players and staff continue to test negative. Because COVID-19 can take multiple days to show up on a test after initial exposure, Sugarman said the next three to five days — through Sunday — will be critical to monitor.

“We did have a few moderate-risk contacts that happened pregame, postgame, whatever it might be,” Sugarman said. “You test them, you monitor them. But we get daily testing, so it’s easy for us. That’s what you’re supposed to do, along with monitoring your symptoms. So we’re all clear from that standpoint right now.”

General manager Rick Spielman said there will be “significant procedures and processes in place” in order for the team to get back in the TCO Performance Center in Eagan, Minnesota. Sugarman added there will be “enhanced protocols, enhanced health screenings, enhanced temperature checks and certainly enhanced PPE with masks at all times as well as social distancing at all times.”

Sugarman said that no one will be admitted into the building until they have a negative PCR test from Wednesday and a negative POC test — a point-of-care nasal swab that takes about 20 minutes to get results — from Thursday.

He said he believes the facility will open Thursday even if a small number of personnel tests positive from the round of tests administered Wednesday.

“I think that would be true,” Sugarman said. “I don’t have a set number that would force us to close or remain closed. But I think if it’s one or two positives, I think we can probably mitigate that. But it’s unknown. It’s unknown.”

Meanwhile, the Vikings are preparing for their Week 4 game in Houston through the use of virtual meetings. If the facility opens Thursday, the Vikings will have one normal practice and likely have to condense their week of preparation for a game that is still expected to take place Sunday.

“As I know right now, yes, we’re scheduled to get on that plane on Saturday and play,” Spielman said. “If that changes, I don’t know. But as of today, we are scheduled as normal.”

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