EAGAN, Minn. — The Minnesota Vikings, like other teams in the NFL, are taking serious measures to control the COVID-19 virus and conduct the 2020-21 season.
Their quarterback, however, is not sure they will make a difference. Talking with NFL Network's Kyle Brandt in his Spotify “10 Questions” podcast, Cousins expressed his opinion that masks don't work, and that he takes a 'survival of the fittest' approach to life during the coronavirus pandemic.
At one point in the interview, which touched on a number of topics ranging from ancient Greek cities and Canada's drinking age and Val Kilmer movies, Brandt asked Cousins about his approach to living with the virus and wearing masks.
“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 gonna call anybody stupid, for the trouble it would get me in," Cousins said, chuckling. "But I’m about a .000001.”
“Really, how come?” Brandt responded.
“Again, I want to respect what other people’s concerns are," Cousins explained. "For me personally, just talking no one else can get the virus, what is your concern if you could get it, I would say I’m gonna go about my daily life. If I get it, I’m gonna ride it out. I’m gonna let nature do its course. 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. You know, even if I die. If I die, I die. I kind of have peace about that. So 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 own personal thoughts.”
Cousins addressed the comments Wednesday afternoon in a virtual press conference, saying there's still "great reason for me to engage in wearing a mask and social distancing." He added that his comments were about his own personal situation and acknowledged other people are facing different circumstances and may be more vulnerable to the coronavirus.
"While the virus does not give me a great amount of personal fear, there's still great reason for me to engage in wearing a mask and social distancing and washing my hands as frequently as I can and following protocols that have been set in place, obviously to be respectful and considerate of other people, which is very important," Cousins said. "But also to be available for all 16 games this fall, because as protocol is set up, if a player were to test positive they would be potentially out of the game or games. So, there's plenty of reasons to wear a mask, social distant and be very vigilant to help stop the virus."
The Vikings' quarterback addressed the changes around team's facilities, saying he's getting used to the new protocol when he enters the building. But it's still a work in progress.
"I remember walking out of the locker room a few days ago and I was carrying my backpack and going to a meeting, and I just felt like I was missing something. I said, 'What am I missing? I've got my backpack,' but I didn't have a mask on," Cousins said. "It was interesting how you kind of train yourself to know that when you don't have a mask on, you feel like you're missing something."
Cousins was one of the first NFL players to comment about COVID-19 and conducting the upcoming season, Tweeting that he wanted to play but "health and safety has to come first."
In his interview with Brandt, the Vikings QB called the current camp situation "unique," and said for players to move forward with confidence they need to be informed on the risks of being in a crowded locker room, or lining up against 11 other players.
"The more we know, whether it's risky or not, at least we can make an informed decision," Cousins reflected.
Cousins also told Brandt that teammates taking part in training camp at TCO Performance Center in Eagan run the gamut in their approach to the virus, and respect for different approaches is essential. "Within the building there's going to be a dichotomy of people who couldn't care less about the virus, have no concern about it, have not lost a minute of sleep about it, and then you get people on the other side of the spectrum, who every second of every day, they're consumed with fear about it. And so, what you don't know is who is where on the spectrum when you first go back."