Lions QB Matthew Stafford cleared to play vs. Vikings after negative COVID test

Detroit Free Press

Dave Birkett
| Detroit Free Press

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MINNEAPOLIS — Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford has been cleared to play in today’s game against the Minnesota Vikings after his most recent COVID-19 test came back negative.

Stafford, who is with the Lions in Minnesota, is expected to start at quarterback after missing practice all week.

The Lions took Stafford off the reserve/COVID-19 list on Saturday, three days after placing him on it because of a close contact he had with an infected person.

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Stafford spent most of the week in isolation, including from his family, but took part in meetings and walk-throughs virtually in preparation for Sunday’s game.

Both Lions coach Matt Patricia and backup quarterback Chase Daniel, who took first-team reps all week, said they do not believe Stafford’s play will be impacted by missing practice.

“I think if you called Matt Stafford like on an April day and said, ‘Hey, we’re going to go play a 60-minute football game,’ he’d be able to go out there and rip it and he’d be fine,” Patricia said. “He’d see defenses, he’d see coverage. He’d hand it off. He’d do all the right things. He’s a great vet. He knows how to play the game.

“I do always think that in the game of football that there’s a little continuity that needs to go on, and especially when you have different guys out on the field and maybe different players in different positions week in, week out and all that. So I do think that’s why practice is important from that standpoint, but I trust Matt Stafford to always do the right things and be ready to go and that’s where we are right now.”

The Lions were placed in the NFL’s intensive protocol for COVID on Friday after at least four members of their organization dealt with COVID situations.

They placed linebacker Jarrad Davis and practice squad safety Jalen Elliott on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Tuesday and Thursday, respectively, and on Friday announced that a staff member tested positive for the virus.

Stafford has made two trips to reserve/COVID this season, spanning seven days. The Lions initially placed him on the list Aug. 1 after he tested positive for the virus, then removed him three days later following three negatives tests.

The team said Stafford’s initial test was a false positive, and days later, the NFL tweaked its COVID testing policies.

Contact Dave Birkett at Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.

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