EAGAN, Minn. — Kirk Cousins said he will be vigilant in following the NFL's COVID protocols this season to ensure he is on the field for all 17 games.
The Vikings starting quarterback missed the past four Vikings practices because he was on the Reserve/COVID-19 List.
He spoke to the Twin Cities media Thursday afternoon, a few hours after he was removed from the COVID list and back inside Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center.
"I'm taking into account everything that's happening," Cousins said. "Very much doing my research and understand why I missed [practice] and how to make sure it doesn't happen again.
"So I'm going to be vigilant about avoiding a close contact," Cousins later added. "I've even thought about, 'Should I just set up literally plexiglass around where I sit, so this could never happen again?' I've thought about it, because I'm going to do whatever it takes. We're going to avoid this close-contact thing, and I look forward to making sure I'm playing for every game this year."
The quarterback also revealed that he was only deemed a close contact because of the size of the meeting room and not due to proximity to rookie quarterback Kellen Mond. Cousins also opened his press conference by saying he has had six straight days of negative tests and did not contract the virus.
"I've come to learn since I've been at home that the tracers we wear actually showed I was not a 'close contact' as I understand being a close contact, which is being within a certain number of feet," Cousins said. "The challenge was, the meeting room we met in was deemed to be too small for us to have been in a room together – even if we were significantly apart from each other.
"So we've since moved to a different meeting room, and as I understand it, had we met in a larger room, I would not have missed practice," Cousins added. "Because I was not a close contact as deemed by actually being in contact."
Minnesota's quarterbacks have changed meeting rooms, with Cousins noting that he'll meet anywhere and everywhere to avoid the situation of the past four days happening again.
"As I said to [Vikings Head] Coach [Mike] Zimmer last night, I said, 'We can meet in the indoor [practice facility], we can meet outside.' And I said, 'If it means meeting outside under a goal post in January, if that's what it takes to get to the playoffs and be in playoff games and win playoff games, then that's where we're going to meet,' " Cousins said. "We're going to avoid this close contact thing with everything we possibly can do. I was not aware of the meeting room size being an issue. Otherwise, I would have spoken up and said, 'We obviously can't meet here.' So I'm glad we've gotten that fixed and grateful we have a facility where there are multiple options of where to meet."
Cousins did not reveal his own vaccination status, calling that "a very private health matter for me."
And while he said the league has encouraged all players to get vaccinated, the quarterback noted he is "at peace with where I'm at, and I'll follow the protocols vigilantly."
As for the last five days, Cousins said it was disappointing to miss practice as he counts on his durability as a strength of his game.
He attended virtual meetings to stay connected to the team and will be at Thursday's practice.
"Well, it was very similar to OTAs in 2020, part of training camp in 2020 was spent virtual, at home in the evenings," Cousins said. "So it's become a new normal. It was very familiar from that standpoint. Part of our OTAs this spring were virtual.
"So you've learned what you've got to do to still stay focused, and then obviously on my own with recovery, it gave me a chance to get in my hyperbaric chamber and spend some time recovering in other ways – do some brain training and do some tissue work," Cousins added. "I'm going to maximize every hour I have, whether I'm at the facility or at home."
Cousins said after his chat with Zimmer, after the head coach had been outspoken about his frustrations in recent days, was ready to move forward.
"We had a tremendous conversation last night. Great dialogue," Cousins said. "I'll leave my discussion with him, with him. But it was a very, very positive discussion. Came away feeling great."