SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) — Three former greats from the Minnesota Vikings are making public appearances in Sioux Falls Friday. The pro careers of quarterback Tommy Kramer and defensive tackles Keith Millard and Henry Thomas collectively spanned more than three decades going back to the late 1970’s.
Yet, they still follow the game closely today. They shared their thoughts about COVID-19’s impact on the NFL.
They’re still wearing face masks years after leaving the game. And former players with the Minnesota Vikings would still be willing to strap on their helmets and take the field even in an age of pandemic.
“I love playing the game and if I have to isolate my family for three or four months so I can do it, I definitely would do it,” former Vikings defensive tackle Henry Thomas said.
COVID-19 is directly impacting the current football pursuits of the former Vikings.
“I coach high school with my son, one son plays and the other coaches, and we keep delaying the season because we’re worried about the coronavirus and how we’re going to handle it,” former Vikings defensive tackle Keith Millard said.
The former Vikings give credit to how the NFL is protecting its players.
“I think they’re doing a good job. They’re doing everything as far as protocol calls for, checking everybody, twice, sometimes three days a week,” former Vikings quarterback Tommy Kramer said.
But the former Vikings are also troubled by the recent rise in cases of COVID-19 throughout the league and the wider impact.
“Now they’re dropping like flies, so that’s worrisome to me as far as colleges and the high school, especially the high school. It’s like one guy gets it and the next thing you know five guys have it and now the coaches, staff, everybody’s getting it,” Millard said.
Millard says the answer should lie in strictly following protocols, not postponing seasons. He says it’s important the games go on to give fans an emotional lift amid such uncertain times.
“It’s something that we can all relate to, it keeps everybody happy and moving forward and with all the the things going on right now, it’s lucky that we have football as it is,” Millard said.
The Vikings are still scheduled to play Atlanta on Sunday despite the Falcons reporting a second positive COVID-19 test on Thursday.
The former Vikings will be signing autographs at Woody’s Pub Friday starting at 5:30 p.m. then at the Gateway Lounge starting at 8 p.m.