Video: See what Vikings’ facility looks like with social-distancing guidelines

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Sugarman wore a natty Viking-logoed black mask to start the tour in this three-year-old football palace, and he made it clear immediately that there will be no mask-related politics inside this building this year.

“You are required to wear a face covering inside this building all day,” he said. Then, sternly: “Without exception.”

He won’t be alone in his enforcement. Here, and with every team, there will be three additional “COVID Protocol Coordinators,” to enforce rules, manage flow around the building and coordinate the tracing and tracking of people. (More about that in a moment.)

• First stop: the four testing bays. In training camp, the 100 club employees who come into daily contact with players—coaches, trainers, staff, service employees, team media people—and 80 players will enter the trailer and undergo the COVID-19 test. Not the deep “brain-scraper,” but the mid-nasal test that’s not as intrusive. I’m hearing the league is leaning toward compromising with the union and ordering daily tests, at least for a substantial period of time this summer.

There’s one entry for all 180 essential personnel, called Tier 1 and Tier 2 employees and players. (Others who work in the building will use another entry and be shielded for entering any part of the building where any of the 180 can go.) Next: Enter, and sanitize the hands at one of the automatic sanitizing stations. CLEAN HANDS ARE SAFE HANDS, the machine reminds you.

Then it’s temperature screening at the thermal-scanner tablet with camera on top. With mask on—the device won’t work unless half the face is covered—you step about 18 inches from the camera and center your face so it focuses on you.

I did it. The device took three seconds to read me. I’m good: 97.9.

“Temperature detected is normal,” the voice in the tablet said.

• Entry: Call up the TeamWorks app on your phone, enter your temperature and answer the 10 health questions. If you’re good, the smart phone shows a big green check mark.

“You’re approved to enter TCOPC today,” the screen below the checkmark says.

A COVID Protocol Coordinator will give each player, plus all Tier 1 and Tier 2 employees, something called a proximity tracking device when they enter. That will track the movements of every player and employee throughout the day, in the building and on the field—even in the huddle. This, of course, will allow tracers, if someone tests positive for COVID-19, to figure out which player or employee has been in close proximity to the infected person, and for how long, to determine the course of palliative action the team should take after contact-tracing. NFL medical director Allen Sills on Sunday called this a huge part of the league’s efforts to ID all people who come into contact with an infected person.

• Locker room: By NFL standards, it’s particularly big—6,500 square feet, complete with fireplaces and a wall of TVs, and 94 wide-body lockers. When the players report, only 42 will be used . . . with more on the way this week.

“We have the good fortune of being in one of the largest and most awesome facilities in the NFL, and in the locker room, it gives us a big advantage when it comes to social distancing,” Sugarman said. The locker room, a week out from welcoming players, is still a work in progress; Kirk Cousins still has a full locker neighboring to his right, but that will be eliminated when players report. The finished product, Sugarman said, will have an empty locker next to a used one, never two used ones in a row. This week, extra spaced-out lockers will be added to accommodate more players, and some rookies may be housed in an adjoining room. The couches are gone. More space. More breathing room. “The goal is no player will be within six feet of another player,” Sugarman said.

• The hot/cold tubs: Normally, each modern built-in tub would fit 12 players. Now they’re marked for six, with purple markers placed for each of the players to stand. In training camp, when more than six players would want to crowd into a cold tub to lower the body temperature, the Vikings will put up tents outside, with individual ice barrels for players.

• Showers: Every other shower head will be removed. No player will shower closer than six feet from another.

• Training room: The tables that appear closer than six feet apart will be separated by plexiglass to be installed this week. And every table, once used, will be cleaned by an electrostatic sprayer, the kind you’ve seen used to clean airplanes, spraying a fine mist of disinfectant. Sugarman demonstrated on a treatment table.

“The difference is, you want to leave it wet, rest for several minutes,” Sugarman said. “These particles cover the entire the table. They go in the cracks. So, a much safer way to clean. We’ll use these sprayers in the weight room, in the players [meeting] rooms, in the cafeteria.”

• Meeting rooms: These have all changed. A large room for the offensive linemen, for instance, which normally would fit 20 big men sitting at long tables with the coaches at the front, has had all but 12 chairs removed. There is at least six feet between each chair, and at least six feet between the chairs, front and back. In the linebacker room, 14 seats have been reduced to eight, with a jumbo round container of sanitary wipes and a Purell dispenser when players walk in. And on the floor of the linebacker room . . . what’s that?

“Christmas stuff,” Sugarman said. “You should see what the offensive linemen do in their room.”

There’s a North Pole sign, unstrung lights, a small fake tree, and a bunch of little Santas, neatly arranged, waiting to be boxed—most likely to be put away for next December. Which really isn’t that far off. But that’s what happens when a pandemic hits. Normally, the Christmas stuff would get put away before the offseason program commenced in April. Not this year. No offseason program.

In football, there are daily full-squad meetings, and this building has a lovely 172-luxe-chair theater-type setting for just that. Not anymore. “We’ll be able to use 42 of the chairs in here this year,” said Sugarman, motioning to the back of the sloping theater. “By the time the players get here, the seats on these other chairs will be screwed out. Again: No one will be within six feet of anyone else.”

This room will likely be used for defensive team meetings. The offense, likely, will be down on the artificial turf of the indoor facility, with AV equipment and a big screen rolled in daily for film study for the full offense.

Full team meetings? It’s probable that those will be held by videoconference, the way teams did a lot of their teaching in the offseason.

“Again,” Sugarman said, “there’s going to be lots of new normal this year.”

• Cafeteria: At one point during the tour, Sugarman walked into the cafeteria, which normally seats more than 100. This year: 40, with the hope that most people will grab-and-go. “Where’s the food!” he said to the cafeteria workers, knowing that the food this year won’t be laid out to ladle onto plates or taken with fingers.

“Players will not touch food,” he said. “Disposable plate, single-use condiments . . . pasta salad, maybe, in a sealed container. Same food. It just might look a little different when they get it. Best thing is, we’re gonna have an app on your phone. You can order your lunch in the morning. You can walk up here, and grab-and-go. Kirk Cousins walks in, grabs it, he’s here for 15 seconds, he goes back and eats at his locker or wherever.”

• The COVID room: There’s one room in the building. It’s a typical office that will be kept empty and sterile, except when a player or staff member feel sick or is notified he/she has tested positive. Sugarman has laid out a slew of health-care products to show me. Once a person tests positive or complains of illness, the person will be isolated in this room.

“The sick player will get a care package,” Sugarman said. “Three different kinds of face coverings in the care package. A fingertip pulse oximeter because we know COVID can affect oxygen levels and we want to be able to track that. A thermometer. Hibiclens soap, to clean. Gloves. A meal schedule; we can deliver meals to them if they’re isolated. So they’ll get this bag, with all this, and they will be either removed from the building or not allowed in the building, once we examine them.”

If a player or staff person is married or living with someone, the ICO has accounted for that too. When camp begins, there will be a meeting for all family members of players and staffers—sort of what-to-do-if-your-loved-one-gets-sick info session.

There’s another aspect of the 2020 operation here, and with every team, that interested me. The Vikings have approximately 210 employees who work here. With only 100 being allowed to work in proximity to the players, surely there are some jobs that now will either go undone or have to be done by some of the 100. The Vikings Entertainment Network, with 30 employees producing content for the website and league use, will have only six employees in the player-touching group of 100 employees. The ticket manager who handles player tickets? If there are fans at games this year, someone else will do the job of taking player ticket orders. Not essential enough. Same with some janitorial/cleaning staff, interns for various staffs. Now, all of those employees below the 100 who touch the players keep their jobs. They’ll just be doing them without personal contact with the players.

“Sug [Sugarman] and I had to sit down and cut that 200-plus to 100,” Spielman said. “That wasn’t easy, believe me. But I’m actually excited about it.”

Huh?

“We all gotta pitch in,” Spielman said. “That’s what a team does. When a meeting room as to be sanitized between meetings, we’re going to take turns going in there, everyone [in Tier 1 and 2]. I’ll be cleaning rooms. We all will. You know what was exciting to me? When we had to cut down that list to get to 100, and you let people know their roles, I got three phone calls that night from guys saying, ‘What can I do to help? What do you need me to do?’ “

Theoretically, Spielman could have the short straw one day. He could cut a player and, if no one’s around to drive, Spielman could have to drive the guy to the airport to start his next life.

The more you can do. That just might be the NFL motto for 2020, for as long as this season can last.

Read more from Peter King’s Football Morning in America column here.

2022 NFL Playoff Picture Week 14: Standings, clinching scenarios ahead of Dolphins vs Chargers on SNF

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Week 14 on Sunday Night Football features a matchup between Tua Tagovailoa and the Miami Dolphins against Justin Herbert and the LA Chargers at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California. Live coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. ET with Football Night in America on NBC and Peacock. December is here and Week 14 means that we’re officially thinking about the NFL playoff picture, and who will be in contention for a spot in Super Bowl LVII in Glendale, Arizona, this February. Here’s how things stand in the playoff picture heading into the weekend:

RELATED: FMIA Week 13 – Brock Purdy Gets The Save And The Starting Job; Burrow Still Owns Mahomes And The Chiefs

Where do the Dolphins and Chargers stand in the 2022 NFL Playoff Picture ahead of Week 14?

Miami Dolphins:

Tagovailoa and the Miami Dolphins (8-4) are currently in Wild Card position despite a brutal 33-17 loss against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 13 where the third-year QB injured his ankle on a strip sack late in the 4th quarter. According to Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel, the injury is not serious and Tagovailoa is expected to start this Sunday. The Dolphins are 14-3 in Tagovailoa’s last 17 starts dating back to Week 11 last season and look to make their first playoff appearance since 2016. Tagovailoa currently leads the NFL in passer rating (112.0) and yds/attempt (9.02).

RELATED: Mike McDaniel – I don’t anticipate any setback that would keep Tua Tagovailoa from playing

LA Chargers:

Herbert and the LA Chargers (6-6) are currently in the hunt for a playoff spot and sit one game behind the New England Patriots after picking up their 3rd loss in the last 4 games last Thursday against the Raiders. The Chargers have not made it to the playoffs since 2018 when they lost 48-21 in the Divisional round to the New England Patriots. Herbert, also a third-year quarterback drafted one pick behind Tagovailoa in 2020, is looking to make his first career playoff appearance.

See below for the 2022 NFL playoff clinching scenarios and standings for Week 14 as well as additional information on how to watch and live stream this week’s Dolphins vs Chargers match-up.

RELATED: How to watch Dolphins vs Chargers  – TV/Live Stream info for Sunday night’s game

2022 NFL Playoff Clinching Scenarios for Week 14:

Kansas City Chiefs (9-3) vs Denver Broncos (3-9) – Sunday, December 11 (4:05 PM ET)

The Kansas City Chiefs can clinch the AFC West division title with the following:

  • A win against the Broncos AND a LA Chargers loss against the Miami Dolphins.

Minnesota Vikings (10-2) vs. Detroit Lions (5-7) – Sunday, December 11 (1:00 PM ET)

The Minnesota Vikings can clinch the NFC North division title this Sunday with the following:

  • A win or tie against the Lions.

Philadelphia Eagles (11-1) vs New York Giants (7-4-1) – Sunday, December 11 (1:00 PM ET)

The Philadelphia Eagles can clinch a playoff berth with the following:

  • A win or tie against the New York Giants

OR

  • A San Francisco 49ers loss against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers AND a Seattle Seahawks loss against the Carolina Panthers.

RELATED: PFT’s Week 14 2022 NFL Power Rankings

AFC Standings – Week 14

  1. Buffalo Bills (9-3)
  2. Kansas City Chiefs (9-3)
  3. Baltimore Ravens (8-4)
  4. Tennessee Titans (7-5)
  5. Cincinnati Bengals (8-4)
  6. Miami Dolphins (8-4)
  7. New York Jets (7-5)

In the Hunt:
New England Patriots (6-6)
Los Angeles Chargers (6-6)
Las Vegas Raiders (5-7)

NFC Standings – Week 14

  1. Philadelphia Eagles (11-1)
  2. Minnesota Vikings (10-2)
  3. San Francisco 49ers (8-4)
  4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-6)
  5. Dallas Cowboys (9-3)
  6. NY Giants (7-4-1)
  7. Seattle Seahawks (7-5)

In the Hunt:
Washington Commanders (7-5-1)
Detroit Lions (5-7)
Green Bay Packers (5-8)

Which teams have been eliminated from playoff contention?

The Bears (3-10) and Texans (1-10-1) were both eliminated from playoff contention in Week 13. The Cardinals and Broncos could face elimination in Week 14.

RELATED: Bills move into first place in AFC


How to watch the Miami Dolphins vs LA Chargers:

  • Where: SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California
  • When: Sunday, December 11
  • Start Time: 8:20 p.m. ET; live coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. ET with Football Night In America
  • TV Channel: NBC
  • Stream liveWatch live on Peacock or with the NBC Sports App

What time is kickoff for the Miami Dolphins vs LA Chargers game?

Kickoff is at 8:20 p.m. ET.

RELATED: 2022 Sunday Night Football Schedule: TV channel, live stream info, NFL schedule

For all your tailgating needs for the 2022 Fall season, click here!

Football Night in America will feature a weekly segment hosted by former NFL quarterback Chris Simms and sports betting and fantasy pioneer Matthew Berry, which highlights storylines and betting odds for the upcoming Sunday Night Football game on NBC, Peacock, and Universo. Real-time betting odds on the scoring ticker during FNIA also will be showcased. Peacock Sunday Night Football Final, an NFL postgame show produced by NBC Sports, will also go deep on the storylines and BetMGM betting lines that proved prominent during the matchup.


How to watch Sunday Night Football on Peacock:

If you have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can watch Sunday Night Football on your TV or with a TV provider login on the NBC Sports app, NBC app, or via NBCSports.com. Check your local listings to find your NBC channel. If you can’t find NBC in your channel lineup, please contact your TV provider.

RELATED: What to know about Super Bowl 2023 – Date, location, halftime performance info, and much more

If you don’t have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can stream Sunday Night Football on Peacock with a $4.99/month Peacock Premium plan.  Sign up here or, if you already have a free Peacock account, go to your Account settings to upgrade or change your existing plan. 

Please note that selection of a Premium plan will result in a charge which will recur on a monthly or annual basis until you cancel, depending on your plan. You can cancel your Premium plan at any time in your Account.

RELATED: 2022 NFL Regular Season Schedule – How to Watch, Live Stream, Dates, Times, Matchups


 Follow along with ProFootballTalk for the latest news, storylines, and updates surrounding the 2022 NFL Season, and be sure to subscribe to NFLonNBC on YouTube!

2022 Sunday Night Football Schedule: TV channel, live stream info, NFL schedule

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The 2022 NFL Football season is finally back in session. This Sunday night Tua Tagovailoa and the Miami Dolphins (8-4) will battle it out with Justin Herbert and the LA Chargers (6-6) as the race for the playoffs heats up in the AFC. The Dolphins currently hold one of the AFC’s Wild Card spots and sit one game behind the Buffalo Bills in the AFC East. The Chargers are one game behind the NY Jets for the division’s final playoff spot.

RELATED: 2022 NFL Playoff Picture Week 14 – Standings, clinching scenarios ahead of Dolphins vs Chargers on SNF

Sunday night’s game was originally scheduled to feature a match-up between the Chiefs vs Broncos but the NFL made the decision to flex the game early last week. The Chiefs vs Broncos game will now take place at 4:05 p.m. ET.

Live coverage of the Dolphins vs Chargers game begins at 7:00 p.m. ET with Football Night in America. NBC and Peacock have got you covered with access to this week’s games as well as every Sunday Night Football game this season.

RELATED: FMIA Week 13 – Brock Purdy Gets The Save And The Starting Job; Burrow Still Owns Mahomes And The Chiefs

This year’s Sunday Night Football coverage will feature Mike Tirico and Cris Collinsworth in the booth and Melissa Stark on the sidelines. Live coverage begins every Sunday night at 7:00 p.m. ET with Football Night in America with the talented group of Maria Taylor, Tony Dungy, Rodney Harrison, Jason Garrett, Chris Simms, Jac Collinsworth, Mike Florio, and Matthew Berry. Berry, a fantasy football industry pioneer, will also appear on Peacock’s exclusive NFL post-game show, Sunday Night Football Final.

RELATED: How to watch Matthew Berry on NBC Sports

Football Night in America will also feature a weekly segment hosted by Simms and sports betting and Berry, which highlights storylines and betting odds for the upcoming Sunday Night Football game on NBC, Peacock, and Universo. Real-time betting odds on the scoring ticker during FNIA also will be showcased. Peacock Sunday Night Football Final, an NFL postgame show produced by NBC Sports, will also go deep on the storylines and BetMGM betting lines that proved prominent during the matchup.

RELATED: 2022 NFL Playoff Picture Week 13 – Standings, clinching scenarios ahead of Colts vs Cowboys on SNF

2022 Sunday Night Football Schedule:

*Live coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. ET.

Thursday, Sept. 8 (Week 1) – Josh Allen’s four touchdowns power Bills to 31-10 victory over Rams

Sunday, Sept. 11 (Week 1) – Bucs take care of business against Cowboys, who lose Dak Prescott late

Sunday, Sept. 18 (Week 2) Packers roll over Bears 27-10 as Aaron Jones, Preston Smith star

Sunday, Sept. 25 (Week 3) – Broncos do just enough to pull off 11-10 win over 49ers

Sunday, Oct. 2 (Week 4) – Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs dominate Bucs 41-31

Sunday, Oct. 9 (Week 5) – Justin Tucker’s last-play field goal delivers 19-17 win for Ravens

Sunday, Oct. 16 (Week 6) – Eagles intercept Cooper Rush three times in 26-17 win

Sunday, Oct. 23 (Week 7) – Kenny Pickett throws two late INTs, allowing Miami to escape with 16-10 win

Sunday, Oct. 30 (Week 8) – Bills beat Packers 27-17 for fourth win in a row

Sunday, Nov. 6 (Week 9) – Patrick Mahomes leads Chiefs to comeback overtime victory over Titans

Sunday, Nov. 13 (Week 10) – 49ers dominate Chargers in second half to win 22-16

Sunday, Nov. 20 (Week 11) – Travis Kelce’s third touchdown leads Chiefs to late comeback win

Thursday, Nov. 24 (Week 12) – Vikings improve to 9-2 with 33-26 victory over Patriots

Sunday, Nov. 27 (Week 12) – Packers lose Aaron Rodgers, another game as Eagles rush for 363 in 40-33 win

Sunday, Dec. 4 (Week 13) – Cowboys Too Much For Colts In Fourth Quarter Of A 54-19 Beatdown

Sunday, Dec. 11 (Week 14) – Dolphins at Chargers

Sunday, Dec. 18 (Week 15) – Giants at Commanders

Sunday, Dec. 25 (Week 16) – Buccaneers at Cardinals

Sunday, Jan. 1 (Week 17) – Rams at Chargers

Sunday, Jan. 8 (Week 18) – Matchup TBD


How to watch Sunday Night Football on Peacock:

If you have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can watch Sunday Night Football on your TV or with a TV provider login on the NBC Sports app, NBC app, or via NBCSports.com. Check your local listings to find your NBC channel. If you can’t find NBC in your channel lineup, please contact your TV provider.

RELATED: 2022 NFL Regular Season Schedule – How to Watch, Live Stream, Dates, Times, Matchups

If you don’t have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can stream Sunday Night Football on Peacock with a $4.99/month Peacock Premium plan.  Sign up here or, if you already have a free Peacock account, go to your Account settings to upgrade or change your existing plan. 

Please note that selection of a Premium plan will result in a charge which will recur on a monthly or annual basis until you cancel, depending on your plan. You can cancel your Premium plan at any time in your Account.

RELATED: What to know about Super Bowl 2023 – Date, location, halftime performance info, and much more


 Follow along with ProFootballTalk for the latest news, storylines, and updates surrounding the 2022 NFL Season, and be sure to subscribe to NFLonNBC on YouTube!