Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer is taking a short recovery break on the eve of Tuesday’s offseason training activities.
The team announced Zimmer’s leave of absence on Monday. Zimmer had an eighth eye surgery recently, according to the club. He initially started experiencing problems with his right eye back in late October of 2016 and has undergone a flurry of corrective procedures since.
Zimmer missed an early December game against the Cowboys due to the issue.
“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,” general manager Rick Spielman wrote in a statement. “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.”
Zimmer elaborated on the decision his ongoing recovery while speaking on KFAN-FM in Minneapolis on Monday.
“The doctors all got together and we had a long meeting about what’s the best for my recuperation of this eye and they are saying I need to spend the next couple weeks working on my recovery,” Zimmer said. “I just left the doctor’s office, had really good news — the redness looks great, the pressure in my eye is really good. At this point now, we just need to take it easy and make sure it continues in the right way.
“I’ll be back hopefully shortly. They felt like it would be better for me to get away for a little bit and just relax.”
Zimmer added that while he’s away from the team, he’ll remain in contact with his coaches throughout organized team activities and that they’ll be sending him practice videos to review every day.
“It’s unfortunate timing but it’s more important to do it now than during the season,” he said.
While missing coveted practice time is never ideal, this is the best chance to step away if a coach needs to during the offseason. Zimmer has plenty of loyal lieutenants and assistants with previous head coaching experience like Tony Sparano and Pat Shurmur.
Defensive coordinator George Edwards has also been by Zimmer’s side for all four seasons in Minnesota.
Here’s hoping that Zimmer can relax and allow himself the chance to get better. After going under the knife for torn and detached retinas in the past, the pain and frustration must be at an all-time high.
According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Zimmer does not plan on appointing an interim head coach during his absence. It sounds like he’ll be tough to keep away for long.