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O'Connell: Vikings to Practice without Kirk Cousins

EAGAN, Minn. — With Kirk Cousins as the Vikings undisputed starting quarterback entering 2022, Minnesota's coaches have been evaluating Kellen Mond and Sean Mannion.

They'll have an opportunity to continue that assessment Thursday with more reps to go around between Mond and Mannion who were listed as "OR" status in the team's first unofficial depth chart.

Cousins will not practice Thursday and is not at Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center because of an illness.

Head Coach Kevin O'Connell informed Twin Cities media members between Minnesota's closed walk-through and its open practice Thursday.

Asked if the Vikings had determined whether the illness was or was not COVID-19, O'Connell said, "We're still in the process of trying to go through all of that."

"Make sure first and foremost, 'What are you feeling? What's going on?' And then go through our in-house process to make sure that if it does end up being that, we're on top of it," O'Connell continued. "If it's not, there's still some other stuff going around that we want to make sure we're being smart about the other [89] guys, coaches, everything in house. Tyler [Williams] and Uriah [Myrie] and their staff, we've had a lot of dialogue about that, so we'll be smart and deal with it day by day.

O'Connell was also asked if he thinks Cousins might travel to Las Vegas for Minnesota's 2022 preseason opener against the Raiders and said, "I've kind of had a plan in my mind, as far as playing time throughout the preseason for him."

"Obviously getting on the plane and doing all of the travel stuff anyway, regardless of how he currently feels, what will matter is when it's time to get on the plane Saturday and go," O'Connell said. "That's something smart that we'll be really cognizant of."

O'Connell has been speaking with multiple veteran players to gather their thoughts on playing in preseason games and said the philosophies differ between players, even among those with similar career experience.

"As a coaching staff, we're really looking at it from the standpoint of, 'Who do we want to see play? Who do we need to see play in certain competitive situations that we ultimately can't duplicate and replicate out here in practice or next week versus the Niners?'

"We'll be smart with the group, but at the same time, there's some guys that we're really counting on this year that will be out there to get some live snaps and really start feeling a new role," O'Connell continued. "Maybe it's something similar to what they've done in the past but ultimately how it fits with all 11 on their side of the ball. It's case by case, but I can promise you we're putting a lot of thought into who potentially will or won't play, and there's a lot to still be determined."

Kickoff is scheduled for 3:25 p.m. (CT) Sunday.