Vikings' Kirk Cousins Placed on Reserve/COVID-19 List; Out vs. Packers

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVDecember 31, 2021

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - DECEMBER 20: Kirk Cousins #8 of the Minnesota Vikings looks to pass during the first half against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on December 20, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Minnesota Vikings placed Kirk Cousins on the reserve/COVID-19 list Friday.

The Vikings announced Sean Mannion has been activated, and head coach Mike Zimmer confirmed he'll be the temporary starter.

Earlier this week, the NFL and NFL Players Association agreed to lower the minimum isolation period for COVID-positive players from 10 days to five days to follow updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

That will be of little help to Cousins in Week 17, though.

His absence couldn't come at a worse time for the Vikings, who are eighth in the NFC at 7-8. They trail the Philadelphia Eagles by one game for the final wild-card spot.

On its own, a loss to the Packers won't eliminate Minnesota from postseason contention, but that outcome could become a reality without a victory and the right sequence of results elsewhere.

Green Bay has plenty to play for, even though it has clinched a division title. It can secure the NFC's top seed by beating the Vikings and watching the Dallas Cowboys fail to earn a win over the Arizona Cardinals.

In Week 8, the Vikings saw firsthand how a backup quarterback can catch fire as Cowboys No. 2 signal-caller Cooper Rush shredded Minnesota's secondary to the tune of 325 yards and two touchdowns in place of an absent Dak Prescott.

But the idea of rolling with any one of Mannion, Kellen Mond or Kyle Sloter in a pivotal contest is bound to leave the fanbase uneasy.

Mannion has made two starts in his NFL career, going 32-of-55 for 295 yards and two interceptions, while neither Mond nor Sloter has thrown a pass in an NFL regular-season game.