EAGAN, Minn. – The show must go on.
Due to NFL-NFLPA COVID-19 protocols, multiple players will be held out of tonight's U.S. Bank Vikings Training Camp practice, the team announced Saturday.
But Vikings Head Coach Zimmer never entertained the idea of canceling practice. In fact, he plans to move ahead with a plan very close to the original.
"We're not going to fold our tents because a couple guys aren't here," Zimmer told Twin Cities media members a couple of hours before the scheduled practice at TCO Performance Center.
"We really didn't change [the approach] much. We've had to adapt some things, obviously," he added. "All these other guys have to get work, so we're trying to get installs in, we're still trying to get work done, and these fans are all coming out here tonight, too. It's kind of a 'next man up' deal."
Zimmer opened his press conference by expressing excitement for the "pretty good crowd" who came out to support the team – especially after the coronavirus pandemic prohibited fans from attending training camp last year and games throughout 2020.
And speaking of the pandemic, Zimmer didn't hold back his frustration about entering the annual night practice short some players due to protocols.
"It's why people should get vaccinated," Zimmer said. "Something like this happens a day before a game that has a chance to get you to the playoffs or something like that … this Delta variant is rough. You can see the cases going up every single day now.
"That's why, for the sake of everybody's health, I think it's important," he added. "But some people don't understand, I guess."
Saturday's practice marks the fourth full-team session of Minnesota's 2021 training camp. It sometimes has carried more of a scrimmage feel, but Zimmer noted that it's "just a regular practice" this time around.
"We're not in pads yet, so just still working on things," he said. "You know. Lot of guys going to get a lot of good reps tonight."
As for the anticipated atmosphere inside TCO Stadium under the lights, Zimmer said he doesn't expect the intensity level to differ that much from the first three practices.
"I don't think it'll change a lot. They've been pretty intense out here the last few days," Zimmer said. "We had a really good crowd out here yesterday. That seemed to pick up some of the intensity a little bit. Hopefully, we'll continue to do that.
"We've got a long way to go," he continued. "We've still got a lot of work to do that we can't start getting complacent. We've got to keep cranking and grinding."