The Vikings traveled to Chicago on Sunday without guard Dru Samia and assistant offensive line coach Phil Rauscher.
Samia was downgraded to out because of an illness, which is connected to a positive COVID-19 test Sunday morning, according to a league source. Positive tests require a “rerun,” or to be confirmed through another test, and it was unclear late Sunday if Samia’s test had been a confirmed positive. Rauscher was presumably considered a “high-risk” close contact with Samia, and the team announced he would not travel for Monday night’s game.
Cornerback Cameron Dantzler (concussion) and defensive end Jordan Brailford (personal) also didn’t travel with the team after being downgraded to out. The Vikings elevated center/guard Brett Jones and tight end Brandon Dillon from the practice squad, providing depth after Samia and tight end Irv Smith Jr. (groin) were ruled out.
Samia, the 2019 fourth-round pick, struggled through four starts for Pat Elflein before being relegated to a reserve role. The Vikings released Elflein on Friday, with coach Mike Zimmer saying “we just felt like we had some better options.” They’ll have Jones and tackles Rashod Hill and Oli Udoh as offensive line backups against the Bears.
Dantzler remains in concussion protocol despite practicing last week, leaving the Vikings thin at cornerback. Jeff Gladney, Kris Boyd, Chris Jones and Harrison Hand will be the top corners available in Chicago.
The Vikings just returned linebacker Todd Davis from the reserve/COVID list earlier this week after a positive test led to 10 days in quarantine. Symptomatic cases require at least a 10-day isolation, according to NFL protocols, while asymptomatic cases can return as early as five days.
Dantzler and long snapper Austin Cutting have recently been isolated because they were close contacts with an infected individual.