As concerns about coronavirus continued to dominate the sports world Thursday, the Vikings were one of several teams to announce they are suspending travel for coaches and scouts.
“We continue to closely monitor coronavirus developments and maintain contact with the NFL, health officials and other local professional teams,” the team said in a statement. “Consistent with guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we have implemented precautionary procedures to protect staff and reduce the risk of acquisition and transmission inside TCO Performance Center. These actions include emphasizing proper hand washing, enhancing environmental disinfection and preparing for remote work protocols, if necessary. We are also suspending travel for our coaches and scouts until further notice and reviewing restrictions on large public gatherings in the near future. These are uncertain times, and our priority is to protect the health and safety of our players, coaches, staff and fans and do our part to minimize the spread of this virus.”
The NFL’s annual league meetings March 29-April 1 in Florida have been canceled.
The Vikings’ announcement came as the sports world continued to react to the virus, which led the NBA to suspend its season on Wednesday night and the NHL to follow suit on Thursday morning. In the NFL, Washington and Tampa Bay were the first two teams to announce travel restrictions for coaches and scouts Thursday morning; the Vikings were among those who indicated they would do the same shortly thereafter. Mike McCartney, the agent for Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins, also tweeted a “strong recommendation that my players don’t travel for any team visits” before next month’s NFL draft, saying “teams have enough information to make an informed decision” based on his clients’ college seasons, as well as performances at All-Star Games and the NFL combine.
NFL free agency remains scheduled to open Wednesday afternoon, when players can travel to visit prospective teams. Players have until Saturday night to vote on the league’s proposed collective bargaining agreement, which would run through 2030 and likely set the financial terms of the 2020 league year if approved. Teams have until 10:59 a.m. Central time on Monday to apply the franchise or transition tag to a free agent, with the NFL’s free agent negotiating window beginning one minute later.