FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, July 20th, 2020
PETER KING TOURS VIKINGS FACILITY & DISCUSSES NFL COVID-19 PROTOCOLS IN THIS WEEK’S “FMIA” COLUMN
“The team that handles the peripheral stuff best will have a huge edge, because this year the peripheral stuff will be as important as the on-field stuff.” – King on the importance of handling COVID-19-related issues
“We all gotta pitch in. That’s what a team does. When a meeting room has to be sanitized between meetings, we’re going to take turns going in there…I’ll be cleaning rooms. We all will.” – Vikings GM Rick Spielman on the team’s COVID-19 efforts
“I don’t see how the NFL plays preseason games. Seems like a dumb battle to fight with the union, and a dumb way to risk COVID transfers between teams in games that are meaningless.” – King on the preseason
PFT Live with NBC Sports’ Mike Florio and Chris Simms Returns this Week from 7 a.m. – 9 a.m. ET Weekdays on NBCSN; Lamar Jackson Featured on 2020 Rotoworld Fantasy Football Draft Guide Cover, Available on Newsstands Today
STAMFORD, Conn. – July 20, 2020 – Peter King tours the Minnesota Vikings’ facility and discusses the precautions and protocols being taken in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic in this week’s edition of Football Morning in America, available now exclusively on NBCSports.com. King, who provides a video tour of Minnesota’s facility, also discusses the top stories from around the league over the past five weeks.
Across NBC Sports this week, PFT Live featuring Mike Florio and Chris Simms returns from its early-summer break in its usual timeslot, from 7 a.m. – 9 a.m. ET every weekday on NBCSN, and ProFootballTalk.com continues to provide the latest offseason news. Beginning this Wednesday, NBC Football Night in America analyst Rodney Harrison will appear as a regular weekly contributor on PFT Live.
The 2020 Rotoworld Fantasy Football Draft Guide magazine, the industry-leading source for fantasy football news and information, hits newsstands across the country today, with Baltimore Ravens quarterback and 2019 NFL MVP Lamar Jackson featured on this year’s cover.
The following are highlights from this week’s edition of Football Morning in America:
VIKINGS TEAM FACILITY
King on touring the Vikings’ facility: “On Friday, (Vikings athletic trainer Eric) Sugarman, who suddenly becomes as important as a coordinator this year as the Vikings’ chief COVID-fighting employee, and GM Rick Spielman gave me a socially distanced tour of what every coach and player in the league will experience as long as the NFL attempts to play football in 2020.”
King on COVID-19 testing: “I’m hearing the league is leaning toward compromising with the union and ordering daily tests, at least for a substantial period of time this summer…In training camp, the 100 club employees who come into daily contact with players – coaches, trainers, staff, service employees, team media people – and 80 players will enter the trailer and undergo the COVID-19 test.”
King on entry protocols: “A COVID Protocol Coordinator will give each player, plus all Tier 1 and Tier 2 employees, something called a proximity tracking device when they enter. That will track the movements of every player and employee throughout the day, in the building and on the field – even in the huddle. This, of course, will allow tracers, if someone tests positive for COVID-19.”
King on the Vikings’ locker room: “By NFL standards, it’s particularly big – 6,500 square feet…94 wide-body lockers. When the players report, only 42 will be used…with more on the way this week…The finished product, Sugarman said, will have an empty locker next to a used one, never two used ones in a row”
King on team meetings: “Full team meetings? It’s probable that those will be held by videoconference, the way teams did a lot of their teaching in the offseason.”
King on ‘The COVID Room’ at the Vikings’ facility: “Once a person tests positive or complains of illness, the person will be isolated in this room…It’s a typical office that will be kept empty and sterile, except when a player or staff member feel sick or is notified he/she has tested positive.”
Vikings GM Rick Spielman on team employees helping COVID efforts: “We all gotta pitch in. That’s what a team does. When a meeting room has to be sanitized between meetings, we’re going to take turns going in there, everyone [in Tier 1 and 2]. I’ll be cleaning rooms. We all will.”
ON THE 2020 NFL SEASON
King on the 2020 NFL season: “I’m dubious about the NFL’s ability to play this season in full. There are 10 teams in hot-spot states Florida, Georgia, Texas, Arizona and California. The NFL is not playing in a bubble. The chances that none of those teams will be ravaged by COVID-19 seems far-fetched. I hope I am wrong, but I doubt it.”
King on potential COVID-19 dangers: “What happens when the season starts (assuming it does), and young people with money in their pocket, 23 or 24 or 25, go out on a Thursday or Friday night and get careless?”
Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph: “If it runs through the team, we end up not being able to play. If there’s one thing that can ruin a team, it’s the flu, or a virus like this.”
Vikings Infection Control Officer Eric Sugarman on preventative measures: “The only way we can beat this is through education. The team that really takes responsibility for their actions is the team that has the competitive advantage. There is no year in my career that that’s ever been truer than this year.”
King on NFL testing protocols: “Big worry, as far as I’m concerned…Let’s say a team goes through a fairly normal practice session on a day when one of its players tests positive but no one knows it yet. By the time the test results come back positive the next morning, that player has already exposed himself to lots of teammates.”
King on the importance of handling COVID-19-related issues this season: “The team that handles the peripheral stuff best will have a huge edge, because this year the peripheral stuff will be as important as the on-field stuff.”
King on the preseason: “I don’t see how the NFL plays preseason games. Seems like a dumb battle to fight with the union, and a dumb way to risk COVID transfers between teams in games that are meaningless.”
49ers cornerback Richard Sherman to King on how this season may go: “No one knows. But I feel like the way this league runs, if this season starts, they’ll fight tooth and nail to finish”
Rudolph on this season: “I think the season will go off as scheduled and we’ll play the season. I don’t have fear about playing football…My only fear, I guess, would be being a month or so into the season and having a three- or four-month interruption. It’s so tough to get into football shape, and to stay in football shape.”
RECENT NFL NOTES
King on Dan Snyder: “Daniel Snyder has no business owning an NFL team. First: He stinks at it. Second: Rightfully, he inspires nothing but enmity among his fan base. Third: No one wants to work for him, or with him; it’s a miracle he found a very good man, Ron Rivera, to coach his team…Fourth, and perhaps most maddening to any principled person: He avoids accountability at every turn.”
King on Washington changing team name: “It will take some time to get used to a new name, but in time whatever it is can be chanted with joy, and with a clear conscience. I do not understand people saying they won’t root for the team anymore because of the name change. That’s a nickname too far to me.”
King on Cam Newton signing with New England: “I disagree with those who think Newton’s a lock to start opening day – if there is one. I think he probably will start…I think Newton wins the job, but don’t discount the high New England regard for Jarrett Stidham. (Bill) Belichick simply doesn’t care what anyone thinks about his quarterback situation.”
King on the Patriots’ punishments for illegally taping the sidelines during a game last season: “I’ve always thought the taping by a Patriots’ feature producer – not a member of the football staff – was too stupid to be a spy job, and still do. But when you’re the Patriots, and something like this happens, you get zero benefit of the doubt.”
King on Patrick Mahomes’ contract: “I like the deal for the Chiefs and for Mahomes. On the Mahomes side: Winning and continuity is big to him. He does the organization a solid cap-wise for the next two seasons…For the Chiefs, Mahomes’ average cap hit in the first even years is $32.56 million, which by 2026 should be middle of the pack.”
King on Bill O’Brien saying he will kneel for the National Anthem: “This got lost in so many things that happened in June, but some people you wouldn’t have expected will be kneeling. And good for coaches like O’Brien who set aside hours and hours to hear out his Black players so he could truly understand what their lives have been like.”
The following are additional highlights of NBC Sports’ NFL coverage:
- PFT Live with NBC Sports’ Mike Florio and Chris Simms returns this week from 7 a.m. – 9 a.m. ET weekdays on NBCSN. Beginning this Wednesday, NBC Football Night in America analyst Rodney Harrison will appear as a regular weekly contributor on PFT Live.
- The 2020 Rotoworld Fantasy Football Draft Guide magazine, the industry-leading source for fantasy football news and information, hits newsstands across the country today with Baltimore Ravens quarterback and 2019 NFL MVP Lamar Jackson featured on this year’s cover.
- com: ProFootballTalk.com continues to provide the latest offseason news and updates.
- The Chris Simms Unbuttoned podcast and Rotoworld Football Podcast continue to preview and prepare for the upcoming NFL season.
A new “Football Morning in America” posts every Monday morning exclusively on NBCSports.com through the NFL season. It was announced in May 2019 that King signed an exclusive agreement with NBC Sports Group that included writing a weekly Monday morning NFL column for NBCSports.com; making regular appearances on NBCSN’s and NBC Sports Radio’s PFT Live with Mike Florio; and continuing to contribute to Football Night in America, the most-watched studio show in sports.