Mike Zimmer coaches on the sideline
Dec 2, 2019; Seattle, WA, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer stands on the sideline during the third quarter against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

We’re likely going to see a lot more of this in the three weeks or so leading up to the start of the 2020 NFL season.

Some teams have already announced that they will not have fans in attendance early in the season to the COVID-19 pandemic. At least one team has made it clear that fans will attend its opener.

Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer is none too happy about this. The respected coach believes that it will lead to competitive balance issues on the field.

Vikings’ Mike Zimmer says it is unfair for the NFL to allow different crowd sizes

This stance makes sense for a multitude of different reasons. Due to no fault of their own, teams like the Las Vegas Raiders have already announced that they will not allow fans in attendance throughout the 2020 season.

At issue here is a lack of a nationwide policy as it relates to the pandemic. The federal government is relying more on local leaders to set policy.

From the perspective of the sports world, it creates a situation in which some teams are forced to play in front of empty stadiums due to both local policy and the status of the pandemic in the region.

Minnesota itself has been slower than others to open up its economy in a full-fledged manner. It’s in this that the Vikings will not have fans in attendance for their season opener against the hated Green Bay Packers on Sept. 13.

That’s obviously going to create a competitive disadvantage, especially if Green Bay is able to welcome fans to Lambeau Field for their Nov. 1 outing against the Vikings.

Unfortunately, the NFL is not in a great position here. It does not want to say that all 32 teams must play games without fans in attendance.

That would have negative consequences as it relates to revenue at a time when league-wide revenue is going to take a major hit throughout the 2020 season. It’s a no-win situation for Commissioner Roger Goodell and Co.

Vincent Frank
Editor here at Sportsnaut. Contributor at Forbes. Previous bylines include Bleacher Report, Yahoo!, SB Nation. Heard on ESPN Radio and NBC Sports Radio. Northern California native living it up in Las Vegas. The Keto lifestyle. Traveler. Reader. TV watcher. Dog daddy. Sam Malone = greatest TV character ever. "Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary," John Keating.