After missing two weeks to recover from eye surgery, Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer returns to work on his 61st birthday, according to the team’s Twitter page.
It took eight different eye surgeries to repair a detached retina that Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer suffered during the 2016 season. On May 22, the team announced that Zimmer will be taking some time away during OTAs to fully recover.
"As the Vikings begin OTA practices, Coach Zimmer will be taking time away from the team to dedicate to recovering from eye surgery and restoring his health,” the statement from general manager Rick Spielman read. “We all agree Mike’s health is the priority and we believe rest and recovery are in his best interest for the long term. We anticipate Mike back on the field in a few weeks."
Days later, Zimmer spoke to reporters via a conference call and said he’ll be back with the team soon:
Coach Zimmer says the plan is to return to Minnesota on June 4th with a doctors appointment on June 5th to get clearance.— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) May 26, 2017
He also put to bed any rumors that retirement could be in the cards.
Mike Zimmer: "I’ll be back shortly. One eye or two, it doesn’t matter. I’ll be back. We can put that retiring thing to bed quickly."— Jon Krawczynski (@APkrawczynski) May 26, 2017
Zimmer’s first surgery was on Nov. 1, and he had a second operation in late November as the Vikings prepared to take on the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday Night Football. Zimmer remained in the hospital during the Vikings’ 17-15 loss to Dallas, and special teams coordinator Mike Priefer filled in as the interim head coach. Zimmer returned to the field the following week wearing an eye patch.
But the problem wasn’t resolved. Since then, Zimmer has undergone six more surgeries to try and restore vision in his right eye.
Zimmer said he thinks the most recent operation may do the trick and is hopeful it will be the last eye surgery for him, but he doesn’t want to get get ahead of himself.
"I've thought that before,” Zimmer said, via ESPN’s Ben Goessling.
It’s great to see Zimmer, a defensive guru, back to work with his team. The Vikings hired Zimmer in 2014, and he led the team to the playoffs in 2015. With him back in the saddle, the Vikings can now shift their full attention to this upcoming season.