Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins evaded direct answers to questions about his vaccination status Thursday, instead suggesting alternatives to avoid being infected with the coronavirus.

Cousins returned to practice after missing most of the week on the team’s reserve/covid-19 list as a high-risk close contact of backup Kellen Mond, who had reportedly tested positive. He was asked if he should be vaccinated and if he was considering it as the starting “quarterback, perhaps the most important player on the team.”

“I do believe as the leader of the team it’s very important to follow the protocols to avoid this close contact because that is what it’s going to come down to, is did you have a close contact, and so I’m going to be vigilant about avoiding a close contact,” Cousins told reporters. “I’ve even thought about, should I just set up literally plexiglass around where I sit so that this could never happen again. I thought about it, because I’m going to do whatever it takes. We’re going to avoid this close contact thing and look forward to making sure I’m playing for every game this year.”

Cousins was then asked about the risk of contracting the virus outside of the quarterback meeting room, and why he didn’t consider the vaccine a fitting tool to help him remain on the field.

The 32-year old quarterback said his focus was on following NFL protocols and that, “as long as I can not test positive and not have a close contact, I’ll be there for every game,” adding, “the NFL has encouraged us to get vaccinated and as I said it’s just a very private health decision and I’m going to keep it private as such.”

Under league protocols, being quarantined as a high-risk close contact only applies to unvaccinated players and staff, while those who are vaccinated are exempt.

Cousins’s comments centered entirely around the coronavirus and the team’s quarterback situation. He said he and Mond occupied the same room six days ago, which was considered too small, triggering his placement on the NFL’s reserve/covid-19 list Sunday. Cousins, who said he has since had six negative tests and feels no symptoms, took comfort in the team’s apparent decision to relocate its quarterbacks to a larger room. He and quarterback Nate Stanley were reactivated Thursday, while Mond remains out.

Without its top quarterbacks earlier this week, the Vikings offense sputtered during practices.

Coach Mike Zimmer has expressed frustrations about some players’ resistance to vaccines on his team, which has the NFL’s lowest vaccination rate, with 70 percent of players partially vaccinated, compared to 90 percent of players in the league.

Zimmer on Monday talked about that unwillingness, saying some of the things his players are reading are “out there.”

“It’s their beliefs,” he said, “so I don’t know if it’s misinformation. It’s their belief, so whatever they’ve heard or read or been told.” Zimmer said those players perhaps “don’t believe” what they’ve been told by the NFL’s medical specialists.

Cousins, who downplayed concerns about the pandemic last year, said Thursday that he’s been doing “my research and trying to understand why I missed, and how to make sure it doesn’t happen again.” When asked if he’s contacted Dr. Allen Sills, the NFL’s chief medical officer, as part of those efforts, he said he’s never talked to him.

Cousins, when asked if his relationship with Zimmer was “fine” now, answered yes.

“We had a tremendous conversation last night, great dialogue” he said. “I’ll leave my discussion with him with him, but it was a very, very positive discussion. Came away feeling great.”