The Tennessee Titans and Minnesota Vikings are suspending team activities starting Tuesday because of a number of positive COVID-19 tests following their Sunday game.
Tennessee reported three new positive tests for players and five new positive tests for personnel, NFL Network's Tom Pelissero and Mike Garafolo reported, per sources informed of the situation. The Vikings haven't had a reported positive test, but hosted the Titans Sunday, leading to their suspension of in-person activities as a precautionary measure.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell issued a memo to team executives in which he outlined the following steps the league has taken according to COVID-19 protocols agreed to by the NFLPA:
- Players and staff who have tested positive will be isolated, monitored and given all necessary medial care.
- Contact tracing data has been reviewed to identify any close contacts of players and staff who have tested positive. Those individuals have been isolated and will receive additional testing.
- Game officials who worked Sunday's Titans-Vikings game have been contacted for followup testing and monitoring.
- In-person activities for the Titans and Vikings have been suspended pending further developments.
- The league is exploring the nature of the close contacts to determine where they occurred to identify any additional findings that can be shared with all 32 teams.
Goodell urged clubs to revisit "steps they have taken to minimize the number of close contacts, particularly while traveling and within position groups." Teams also should review their procedures for free-agent visits, per the memo.
Goodell also reminded teams that due to the nature of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic it was to be expected that players and staff would test positive during the season.
The Titans said in a statement earlier Tuesday, "Out of the abundance of caution, the organization has decided to work remotely today as we follow NFL protocols related to the COVID-19 virus. Several tests have come back positive and are working through the process of confirming them. We will have more information tomorrow."
Pelissero added that the Vikings evacuated their facility, where coaches and other personnel reported for work Tuesday morning.
"Today the NFL notified us that members of the Tennessee Titans organization have tested positive for COVID-19," the Vikings said in a statement. "As of this morning, we have not received any positive results from Vikings testing following Sunday's game. Per the NFL protocol, we will suspend in-person club activities and close TCO Performance Center immediately. We will work closely with the NFL and NFLPA to monitor the situation, perform additional testing and determine when the facility can reopen. We will provide further updates regarding this week's football schedule when appropriate."
The league announced they have postponed Sunday's Steelers-Titans game to either Monday or Tuesday. No changes have been made so far to the Vikings-Texans game.
Pittsburgh said in a statement, "We have been in contact with the NFL regarding the positive COVID-19 tests with the Tennessee Titans. We have been informed to proceed with our game preparations for Sunday's game until we are informed otherwise."
Garafolo reported that Titans coaches have told players that if they are forced to go without any on-field practice work apart from a potential Saturday walkthrough ahead of Sunday's game, then that will simply be what they have to do this week and there will be no excuses.
Prior to the news Tuesday, the NFL had reported zero positive tests for players in its most recent release of testing data across the league. In the week prior, two players were confirmed positive. Falcons cornerback A.J. Terrell tested positive following the most recent release of testing data from the league and players' union, but did not spread COVID-19 to any players or personnel ahead of their Week 3 game against Chicago. Terrell was inactive Sunday.