Falcons Reopen Facilities After Positive COVID-19 Test; on Track to Play Vikings

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistOctober 16, 2020

A Gatorade logo banner covers the seats before an NFL football game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020, in Atlanta. The Seattle Seahawks won 38-25. (AP Photo/Danny Karnik)
Danny Karnik/Associated Press

The Atlanta Falcons announced Friday they've received clearance to reopen their team facilities under "supplemental intensive protocols" ahead of Sunday's Week 6 road game against the Minnesota Vikings.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported the clash with the Vikings remains "on track" after no positive COVID-19 results during Atlanta's latest round of testing.

The Falcons worked virtually Thursday after one positive test in the organization.

Atlanta is preparing for its first game under interim head coach Raheem Morris, who was promoted from defensive coordinator after Dan Quinn was fired as head coach following the team's 0-5 started punctuated by a 23-16 loss to the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.

Carolina also entered the league's more intensive coronavirus protocols after determining six of its players came in direct contract with Atlanta defensive tackle Marlon Davidson, who has been placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list, per Alaina Getzenberg of the Charlotte Observer.

Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network noted Wednesday there's been no evidence to date of player-to-player transmission of the coronavirus during a game.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Tuesday that "flexibility is going to be critical" in order to complete the regular season after multiple postponements.

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"We cannot grow complacent—not the players, not of the coaches, not the rest of personnel," Goodell told reporters. "Ninety percent is not good enough in this environment."

His comments came after the league's first wide-scale COVID-19 outbreak among a team. The Tennessee Titans returned to play Tuesday after more than two weeks, and there were smaller clusters of positive tests from the Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots.

So far, the league has been able to reschedule games without needing to create an extra week at the end of the regular season, but that could become more difficult once teams' bye weeks have passed.

The Falcons and Vikings are slated for a 1 p.m. ET kickoff Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.