The U.S. National Football League announced Tuesday that two of its teams, the Tennessee Titans and Minnesota Vikings, have suspended team activities after three Tennessee players and five staff members tested positive for the coronavirus.
NFL sources say Tennessee reported the positive tests Tuesday. The Vikings had not reported a positive test, but as they hosted the Titans team at their stadium Sunday in Minneapolis, they said in statement posted to their Twitter account, they were suspending in-person activities as a precautionary measure until further notice.
The Vikings say they will work closely with the league and the NFL Players Association – the players’ union – to monitor the situation.
In a joint statement Tuesday, the NFL and the association said, “Both clubs are working closely with the NFL and the NFLPA, including our infectious disease experts, to evaluate close contacts, perform additional testing and monitor developments. All decisions will be made with health and safety as our primary consideration.”
While two cases had been reported since the NFL season began early this month, this is the first “outbreak” in the league on a single team since training camps opened in early July.
The NFL has been holding its games in empty or nearly empty stadiums.
The league has not said whether the affected teams’ games this week, the fourth week of the NFL season, will proceed as scheduled.
That determination will be reached by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in consultation with an eight-member group comprising coaches, executives and former players from various team affiliations. It was established to prevent members of the league’s competition committee from making self-interested decisions on which teams might have to cancel or postpone games.
The Titans are scheduled to host the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, while the Vikings play at the Houston Texans.
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