Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins tested positive for COVID-19 and will miss the team’s preseason opener on Sunday. Andy Clayton-King/Associated Press

EAGAN, Minn. — Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins has tested positive for COVID-19 and will not play this weekend in the team’s first preseason game.

Coach Kevin O’Connell confirmed the diagnosis Friday at practice, where Cousins was absent for a second straight day. He felt ill Thursday and was sent home.

“I like the way he handled it, reporting the symptoms and going through our in-house process we have here,” O’Connell said. “Ultimately looking out for his teammates and making sure we’ll get him back, ready to roll as soon as possible.”

Cousins has “very minimal” symptoms, O’Connell said.

Sean Mannion and Kellen Mond will split time in the exhibition Sunday at Las Vegas, where Cousins was unlikely to play much, if at all, even if he wasn’t sick. There are no other quarterbacks on the roster.

“No matter who starts, they’re both going to play a ton. Big evaluation game for us of those guys,” O’Connell said. “They’ve done a lot of really good things in camp, and now we get to see them play against a complete defensive structure, different coverages. I think it’ll be good for those guys.”


The Vikings are planning, roughly, an even split of the snaps against the Raiders.

“If a guy gets hot, starts feeling maybe he should take one more or two-minute or something like that, we’ll always adapt,” O’Connell said. “But we’ll have plenty of snaps to make it right through these next three games.”

Cousins missed Minnesota’s second-to-last game of the 2021 season after testing positive for COVID-19. He also missed five days in training camp last year because of what was deemed a close contact. Cousins followed NFL protocols for unvaccinated players last season.

TITANS: Tennessee has a competition for the job backing up quarterback Ryan Tannehill, and Coach Mike Vrabel has made it very clear they want rookie Malik Willis throwing more.

Vrabel pulled Willis two plays into Tennessee’s first drive of the third quarter after the quarterback scrambled on the second play for 17 yards in the Titans’ 23-10 loss Thursday night to Baltimore. Willis showed off his scrambling ability, running five times for 38 yards with a touchdown, and his strong arm was on display with a 48-yard toss to Racey McMath.

It was an impressive debut that had the rookie trending with video snippets of his highlights all over social media. Yet Willis finished with only one more completion than rushes, going 6 of 11 for 107 yards while being sacked twice.


And the Titans lost.

“We wanted him to rip it, and he didn’t,” Vrabel said Friday. “And so I’m sure he’ll rip it the next time that he has an opportunity.”

The Titans traded up to draft Willis at No. 86 overall out of Liberty in April, and they’ve been giving the rookie as much experience as possible this preseason. Willis has had opportunities to work with the second-team offense during training camp, and he started against Baltimore over Logan Woodside, who has been Tannehill’s backup the past two seasons.

Vrabel said they knew the Ravens would give them multiple looks and pressures. The challenge for Willis is what Vrabel called the “fine line” between moving around inside the pocket tapping into the drills they practice every day and working through his reads to find receivers.

“And then there’s times where we’re going to want him to go and be an athlete,” Vrabel said. “And so there’s some things we have to work on with … certainly the timing and what he’s seeing when those throws depend on it. And then there’s other times that I thought he really made some nice plays down the field and kept his eyes down the field.”

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