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Vikings suspend travel for coaches, scouts due to coronavirus

The Minnesota Vikings are suspending all travel for coaches and scouts due to the coronavirus pandemic, the team announced Thursday.

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Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer stands with his defensive coaches, Andre Patterson, defensive line, left; Jerry Gray, defensive backs, second from right; and George Edwards, defensive coordinator, right, as the Vikings engineer a stop of Detroit late in the second quarter of an NFL game against Detroit at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis on Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019. John Autey / St. Paul Pioneer Press
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EAGAN, Minn. -- The Minnesota Vikings are suspending all travel for coaches and scouts due to the coronavirus pandemic, the team announced Thursday, March 12.

With the NFL draft scheduled for April 23-25, pro days had been scheduled around the country for the Vikings to evaluate prospects. That is one thing that immediately has been affected.

The Vikings also said in a statement Thursday that they will be "reviewing restrictions on large public gatherings in the near future." That could affect any fan events the Vikings have surrounding the draft.

Regarding team employees, the Vikings said in the statement they are "preparing for remote work protocols, if necessary."

NFL free agency begins Monday with the legal tampering period, when teams can contact representatives of free agents, and the new league year starts Wednesday. The NFL said Thursday there are no plans to move the start of the league year. The NFL, though, did cancel the March 29-April 1 annual league meeting in Palm Beach, Fla.

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Numerous sports events already have been cancelled or suspended due to the coronavirus. That includes the NBA suspending its season on Wednesday and the NCAA on Thursday cancelling all winter and sports championships. That includes next weekend’s NCAA wrestling championship scheduled for U.S. Bank Stadium.

Here is the Thursday’s statement by the Vikings:

"We continue to closely monitor coronavirus developments and maintain contact with the NFL, health officials and other local professional teams. Consistent with guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we have implemented precautionary procedures to protect staff and reduce the risk of acquisition and transmission inside TCO Performance Center.

"These actions include emphasizing proper hand washing, enhancing environmental disinfection and preparing for remote work protocols, if necessary. We are also suspending travel for our coaches and scouts until further notice and reviewing restrictions on large public gatherings in the near future. These are uncertain times, and our priority is to protect the health and safety of our players, coaches, staff and fans and do our part to minimize the spread of this virus."

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