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Vikings QB, ex-MSU star Kirk Cousins on COVID-19: 'If I die, I die'

Andrew Krammer
Minneapolis Star Tribune

Minneapolis — Kirk Cousins has talked about the “positive” adjustments to the NFL’s new normal so far, but the Vikings quarterback, Michigan State alum and Holland, Michigan, native, hasn’t directly been asked about his thoughts on personal responsibility and the COVID-19 pandemic until a podcast interview published Wednesday morning.

In the apparently weeks-old interview on "10 Questions with Kyle Brandt," Cousins talked about the uncertainty facing the 2020 NFL season before training camps got started and how he planned to handle the pandemic around teammates. Cousins was also asked his thoughts on wearing masks, saying he “wants to respect” concerns by others about COVID-19, but he personally does not share those concerns.

Kirk Cousins

“I want to respect other people’s concerns,” Cousins said. “But for me personally, if you’re talking no one else can get the virus, what is your concern you could get it? I’d say I’m going to go about my daily life. If I get it, I’m going to ride it out. I’m going to let nature do its course, uh, survival of the fittest kind of approach and just say if it knocks me out, it knocks me out. I’m going to be OK. Even if I die, I die. I kind of have peace about that. That’s really where I fall on it, so my opinion on wearing a mask is really about being respectful to other people. It really has nothing to do with my personal thoughts.”

Cousins was first asked by Brandt: “On that spectrum, if 1 is the person who says masks are stupid, you’re all a bunch of lemmings, and 10 is I’m not leaving my master bathroom for the next 10 years, where do you land?”

“I’m not going to call anybody stupid for the trouble it could get me in,” Cousins said, “but I’m about a 0.000001.”

The Vikings, obviously, are concerned if Cousins tests positive for COVID-19, because that could prevent him from playing, aside from other possible health concerns.

All NFL players, coaches and team personnel are required to wear masks inside team facilities this season. New protocols announced Tuesday will also require coaches and staff on the sideline to wear masks on game days. Head coach Mike Zimmer has previously said he doesn’t intend to wear a mask on Sundays, during comments on a Facebook Live video for the Mike Zimmer Foundation.

Cousins also talked about feeling out his teammates’ concerns.

“What you don’t know is who’s where on the spectrum when you first go back (to training camp)?” Cousins said. “Some of it is when you’re with a smaller group and you know everyone in the group, you know, is not as concerned, then is there a way to not freak out when someone sneezes? The flip side is, yeah, if you’re in a huddle and one of these guys is definitely concerned about it, you’re not going to disrespect him and sneeze in his face.”

Before reporting to Vikings training camp at the end of July, Cousins was among the chorus of NFL players calling for clarity on COVID-19 testing protocols, saying “health and safety has to come first.”

“We didn’t, or don’t, have information,” Cousins said regarding his July 19 post on Twitter. “That’s what people wanted was whatever it’s going to be, whatever the protocols are going to be, whether it is extremely safe or whether there is some risk involved, we would like to know what it is. What are we signing up for? I think as we got closer to camp and we did not have that information, it became harder to feel comfortable going back to camp, even if it was going to be very safe – just because we didn’t know. Then we asked people who we think might be in the know and their answer back is, ‘I don’t know either. I’m in the dark.’ So, that just further shows how unique this is and the more we know, whether it’s risky or not, we can then at least make an informed decision."