Gophers without several players, staff against Purdue

Minnesota will be without 20 players due to injury and COVID-19 as well as offensive line coach Brian Callahan and other staff members.

A+Gophers+football+player+watches+from+the+sidelines+during+a+game+on+Sept.+16%2C+2017.

Minnesota Daily File Photo

A Gophers football player watches from the sidelines during a game on Sept. 16, 2017.

Brendan O'Brien, Sport Reporter

The Gophers football program has already dealt with impacts from COVID-19 this season, but the team might have its most significant challenge ahead of them tonight.

According to Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports, Minnesota will be without 20 players against Purdue tonight due to either injury or COVID-19.

The University announced offensive line coach Brian Callahan and two other staff members also tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this week and will not be at the game. The announcement did not name the other staff members who tested positive.

The players that are out because of COVID-19 are currently unknown. However, because tonight’s game against Purdue is still to be played, the Gophers are not in what is considered to be the Big Ten’s red area. This means a team’s test positivity rate is greater than 5% and the population’s positivity rate is greater than 7.5%.

This is not the first time Minnesota has had to attempt to overcome COVID-19 issues. Besides players opting out of playing this season, the Gophers were immediately faced with a problem when kicker Michael Lantz and punter Mark Crawford were unable to participate in the season opening game against Michigan.

Following the game against Maryland, defensive coordinator Joe Rossi tested positive and was not able to coach the team against Illinois.