The NFL is moving closer to its goal of getting as many players vaccinated as possible, with nearly 94% of all players on Week 1 rosters getting the COVID-19 vaccine.
According to the NFL, 93.5% of all players and more than 99% of all club personnel are vaccinated. There are 17 teams above 95% and 27 clubs have 90% or more of all players vaccinated. The lowest club is at 80% and there are three teams between 80-85%. The Colts and Vikings are among the teams that have dealt with COVID-related issues this offseason, are there are no shortage of coaches and executives around the league who wish their rates were higher.
COVID will clearly remain a factor in the NFL this season, as it does in our society. The onboarding process for free agents is set up to incentivize vaccination, with non-vaxxed players needing five days until they fully join a new club. That is a substantial factor for teams looking for replacements for practices and games right away, and you cannot find a personnel person or agent in the NFL who is not convinced that this is a significant factor in making roster decisions on the fly moving forward.
Particularly with specialists or players at positions with very limited reserves (like quarterback), the additional time a player must miss for being a close contact or testing positive without being vaccinated has massive ramifications in terms of availability.
"Take a look at some of the punters or quarterbacks still out there," one personnel exec said. "And then check on their vaccination status."
The NFL has made it clear it is not willing to go to the lengths it so often did a year ago to facilitate the playing of a game compromised by a team's COVID situation. That too is lost on no one making roster decisions in the league.
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