Vikings general manager Rick Spielman told NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero on Tuesday that he spoke with the NFL and FOX to relay that the team feels it is inappropriate to have Olsen in the booth for Sunday’s game. Olsen, currently on injured reserve due to a foot injury, could play a large role in a potentially crucial NFC matchup between the Vikings and Panthers on Dec. 10. The tight end is eligible to return to action Week 12 against the Jets.
The Vikings‘ request to have Olsen work a different game Week 11 — the Panthers have their bye this week — was declined, per Pelissero. Olsen won’t be in production meetings or at Vikings practice as broadcast teams commonly are, but is slated to be in the booth Sunday.
“We are excited for the opportunity to make this Sunday’s broadcast fun and insightful with Pro Bowler Greg Olsen,” FOX said in a statement to Pelissero. “We fully respect the Vikings concerns and will limit the amount of pre-game access allowed to Greg. We look forward to welcoming him in the broadcast booth and giving viewers a unique perspective this Sunday.”
A league spokesperson told Pelissero: “We did not object to this. The player will be in the broadcast booth and will not be attending practice or a production meeting.”
It is not entirely unprecedented for an active player to broadcast a game. In 2014, then-Colts quarterback Matt Hasselbeck called a Rams-Cardinals game and Marcus Allen also did it in 1994 for a game between the Lions and Buccaneers. Neither player’s team, however, played the teams in question those respective seasons.
Olsen told reporters last week he did not anticipate gaining a competitive advantage from the experience.
“I don’t know how much inside info they’re going to give me,” Olsen said, per the Panthers’ official site. “I don’t know how many production meetings I’ll be allowed in considering we play them a few weeks later.”