Vikings general manager Rick Spielman told NFL.com's Tom Pelissero on Tuesday that he spoke with the NFL and FOX to relay that the team feels it is inappropriate to have Olsen in the booth for Sunday's game. Olsen, currently on injured reserve due to a foot injury, could play a large role in a potentially crucial NFC matchup between the Vikings and Panthers on Dec. 10. The tight end is eligible to return to action Week 12 against the Jets.
"We are excited for the opportunity to make this Sunday's broadcast fun and insightful with Pro Bowler Greg Olsen," FOX said in a statement to Pelissero. "We fully respect the Vikings concerns and will limit the amount of pre-game access allowed to Greg. We look forward to welcoming him in the broadcast booth and giving viewers a unique perspective this Sunday."
A league spokesperson told Pelissero: "We did not object to this. The player will be in the broadcast booth and will not be attending practice or a production meeting."
It is not entirely unprecedented for an active player to broadcast a game. In 2014, then-Colts quarterback Matt Hasselbeck called a Rams-Cardinals game and Marcus Allen also did it in 1994 for a game between the Lions and Buccaneers. Neither player's team, however, played the teams in question those respective seasons.
Olsen told NFL Network's Tiffany Blackmon at an event announcing his Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Program in Charlotte that he understands the Vikings' reservations.
"FOX called me a couple nights ago to kind of tell me some of the concerns of the Vikings," Olsen said. "I understood where they were coming from. I think once we made it clear to everyone involved that by no means did we ever intend to go to any practice, or being in a production meeting, interviewing the players, the coaches and getting behind the scenes info like what would traditionally happens in a production meeting, I think everyone kind of understood a little better."
Olsen added: "I don't know if the Vikings still do but the way we think about it -- nothing I'm going to see from that booth a million miles in the sky is any different than what we would see on a game film. I'm going to watch that Rams-Vikings game a hundred times between now and then, getting ready to play them. Whether I see it live from the same angle or see it on film, I don't think there's really too much advantage that I or the Panthers would have."