Minnesota Vikings helmet
Dec 29, 2019; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Mackensie Alexander (20) picks up his helmet prior to the game against the Chicago Bears at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings fell short of a victory in Week 3 against the Tennessee Titans, but the team might have secured a different kind of win by avoiding a COVID-19 outbreak.

When the Titans took the field on Sunday in Week 3, linebackers coach Shane Bowen had tested positive for the coronavirus the day prior. He stayed in Tennessee, while the rest of the team traveled to Minnesota and played after receiving negative tests. While it was still within the incubation period (2-14 days), Tennessee was cleared to play against the Vikings.

Unfortunately, things took a turn on Tuesday when three players tested positive.

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Once word broke that multiple Titans’ players had the coronavirus, the Vikings immediately suspended practice with all players and coaches kept at home until team-wide testing was complete. Given it can take after exposure before a person tests positive for COVID-19, Minnesota could only wait and hope.

The Vikings’ team-wide results on Tuesday and Wednesday meant players and coaches could return to practice on Thursday. Now, per NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the results from Thursday’s COVID-19 testing still shows everyone is in the clear.

While it’s not a guarantee that the Vikings will play on Sunday against the Houston Texans, given we are still in the incubation period, everything is headed in the right direction. Minnesota lost out on its normal Wednesday practice, putting it at a slight disadvantage,

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Minnesota will enter Week 4 as a 4.5-point underdog to the Texans. With Kirk Cousins struggling and one of the league’s worst defenses, a shorter week of practice is another problem working in Houston’s favor.

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The Vikings should consider themselves fortunate if they avoided a COVID-19 outbreak after facing the Titans. However, staring down a potential 0-4 record if the Week 4 odds hold, head coach Mike Zimmer and this entire organization will be in trouble.

Matt Johnson
NFL, MLB & college football writer for Sportsnaut. Graduated from San Diego State University with BA in Journalism, 2019. Grew up in Sacramento, now based in Indianapolis. Seen on MSN. Previously: eDraft, The Connection, With the First Pick