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Matthew Stafford passes final COVID test, will play vs. Vikings

He’s officially back.

Detroit Lions v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Although Matthew Stafford was activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list on Saturday, he still had one final hurdle to clear before being able to play on Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings. His VOICE test from Saturday had to come back negative on Sunday morning, and according to ESPN Adam Schefter it did. Stafford will play this week.

According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero, Stafford had already traveled to Minnesota on Saturday, but separately from the team. He was even staying in a different part of the team hotel, unable to interact with his teammates face-to-face.

And while Stafford hasn’t been able to physically practice with the team all week, he essentially ran some drills this week virtually. Here’s NFL Network with some pretty crazy details from what backup Chase Daniel called the “craziest week” of his football career.

Then, during the Lions’ usual blitz pickup exercise Friday, Stafford’s computer was hooked up to large concert-style PA speakers so he could lead the drill. Still quarantined and watching via Zoom, Stafford called out the protections and checks against whatever defense was dialed up, and the rest of the offense communicated the call as if Stafford were in the indoor practice facility with them.

Hopefully, the mental reps will be enough for Stafford to come out and play well in a pivotal game for the Detroit Lions. At 3-4, Detroit cannot afford to lose many more games down the stretch if they want a real shot at the playoffs. And losing to a 2-5 Vikings team—extending their eight-game losing streak in the division—would feel like a final dagger to their season.