Vikings’ Kirk Cousins says he’s following coronavirus protocols, but ‘if I die, I die’

Kirk Cousins has a philosophical approach to life and football during the coronavirus pandemic. (Jim Mone/Associated Press)

Cindy Boren
September 2, 2020 at 9:58 a.m. EDT

When it comes to protection from the coronavirus, Kirk Cousins isn’t a big believer in the efficacy of wearing face masks, despite evidence to the contrary from scientists. And if he contracts covid-19, he would be “at peace with it.”

In an interview with the NFL Network’s Kyle Brandt on The Ringer’s “10 Questions” podcast, the Minnesota Vikings quarterback was asked, on a scale of one to 10, “If 1 is the person who says, ‘Masks are stupid, you’re all a bunch of lemmings’ and 10 is, ‘I’m not leaving my master bathroom for the next 10 years,’ where do you land?”

With a small laugh, he answered: “I’m not gonna call anybody stupid, for the trouble it would get me in. But I’m about a 0.00001.”

Cousins, who is 32, explained: “I want to respect other people’s concerns, but for me personally, if you’re just talking no one else can get the virus, what is your concern if you could get it? I would say I’m gonna go about my daily life. If I get it, I’m going to ride it out. I’m going to let nature do its course. Uh, survival-of-the-fittest kind of approach and just say, if it knocks me out, it knocks me out. I’m going to be okay.

“Even if I die. If I die, I die. I kind of have peace about that. That’s really where I fall on it so my opinion on wearing a mask is really about being respectful to other people. It really has nothing to do with my personal thoughts.”

Tom Frieden, a former director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, recently wrote an opinion piece for The Washington Post in which he called masks “a simple, low-cost way to protect lives and livelihoods during this pandemics.” And they’re more about protecting others than protecting the wearer. Cousins noted in the podcast that masks are a part of the Vikings’ protocol, along with social distancing, testing and other recommended measures.

In July, Cousins was vocal yet concerned about his hopes for the NFL season and the health of his family, tweeting, “Since January, all I’ve wanted to do is get back on the field and play the game I love, but I also want to protect my family and my teammates. #WeWantToPlay but health and safety has to come first let’s not play things by ear, let’s be certain.”

In the interview with Brandt, he praised the Vikings’ protocols but acknowledged that precautions have been divisive even for NFL teams.

“I even think in the building there’s going to be a dichotomy of people who couldn’t care less about the virus, have no concern about it, haven’t lost a minute of sleep about it. And then you get people on the other side of the spectrum who every second of every day they’re consumed with fear about it,” Cousins said. “So what you don’t know is who’s where on the spectrum when you first go back. Some of it is when you’re with a smaller group and you know everyone in the group, you know, is not as concerned, then is there a way to not freak out when someone sneezes?

“The flip side is, yeah, if you’re in a huddle and you know one of these guys is definitely concerned about it, you’re not going to disrespect him and sneeze in his face [laughing]. So we’ve just got to factor in our audience and the situation, but, I mean, they’re talking about wearing face shields. I don’t know how we’re going to breathe at practice if we’re doing that.

“But at the same time, if that’s the protocol and we have to abide by it to have a season, we have to find a way to make it work.”