Five days after landing on COVID-19 reserve, Vikings offensive lineman Dakota Dozier is in the hospital because of the disease, according to ESPN's Courtney Cronin, initially taken to the emergency room Tuesday night while battling COVID symptoms. Coach Mike Zimmer acknowledged Wednesday that a vaccinated player was hospitalized after having "a hard time breathing," though Cronin reports the 30-year-old Dozier is currently in stable condition.
Asked Wednesday if Dozier could've been hospitalized due to a reaction to the COVID vaccine, Zimmer clarified: "No, it was COVID. I'm not a doctor, but it was COVID pneumonia or something. ... He had a hard time breathing."
A former full-time starter for the Vikings up front, Dozier was added to the reserve/COVID-19 list two days before Minnesota's Week 9 game against the Ravens. That came just one day after fellow lineman Garrett Bradbury landed on the list, and one day before safety Harrison Smith was deactivated for Sunday's contest due to a positive COVID test. The Vikings are currently operating under the NFL's intensive protocols amid the spread, increasing COVID testing in the lead-up to Week 10.
A former fourth-round pick of the Jets, Dozier has been with the Vikings since 2019, starting all 16 games at left guard in 2020. He's spent all of 2021 on the practice squad and was reportedly a candidate for promotion prior to his COVID diagnosis.