The Minnesota Vikings said they plan to act “as a team” to decide whether players remain in the locker room, or stand on the sidelines and show respect for the anthem.
Despite the NFL’s new rule that players must stand for the national anthem — or alternately stay in the locker room during the song —many teams have not quite said what they intend to do about player protests on the sidelines.
But as far as Vikings leadership is concerned, whatever they do it will be as a team.
As the Vikings unveiled its new training facility, owner Mark Wilf took a few minutes to address the team’s possible response to the NFL’s anthem protest rule.
“Whatever we do, we’re going to do as a team. That involves working on social justice issues, hearing from the players and really partnering with them,” Wilf told the Star-Tribune on Friday. “We’ve been in the process of having those conversations to do some great things in the community as they have done for many years, but more focused on some of the social justice issues that are of concern to them. We look forward to advancing some of the great things we do in the community.
“Our players are very respectful — and our ownership, our organization, our franchise — of the military and what that flag means,” Wilf added. “I can tell you as a son of immigrants I think it’s very important for our ownership. I think we all understand that. We’re in a good place on all this, and we just look forward to really working together.”
The team’s head coach has already said he feels everyone should stand for the anthem.
“I was proud of my team last year,” Zimmer told reporters in May. “They stood for the anthem.”
“I think it’s important we stand for the anthem,” Zimmer added. ” I think it’s important we represent our country the right way. A lot of people have — I probably shouldn’t get on a tangent, right? — but a lot of people have died for that flag. That flag represents our country and what we stand for. And so, I think that’s important.”
Still, the Vikings were not without its protests. In September of 2017, for instance, the whole team stood with locked arms in protest of President Trump. No players took a knee that day, though, and the Vikings avoided the glut of protests regularly indulged by other teams.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.