Sportress of Blogitude

Mike Zimmer has unplanned minor procedure, came after Vikings coach became ill


Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer was not in attendance at the team’s practice Friday morning. Bob Hagan, Vikings executive director of public relations, told the media that Zimmer was undergoing a minor procedure, per a Star Tribune report.

Offensive coordinator Norv Turner told reporters that Zimmer was at Winter Park, the team’s headquarters, on Friday morning, but said he wasn’t feeling well but he did not reveal the exact nature of Zimmer’s procedure.

Turner also indicated that Zimmer was expected to be back with the team on Saturday to continue preparations for Sunday’s game against the Buffalo Bills.

Subsequent reports indicated that the procedure that the first-year head coach had undergone on Friday morning was unplanned and only occurred after Zimmer became ill.

“He was uncomfortable and he wasn’t feeling real good [this morning],” Turner said, via Access Vikings. “So, obviously, that’s where that’s at. I just talked to [head athletic trainer Eric] Sugarman and [Zimmer] is doing great and will be ready to go in the morning.”

The nature of Zimmer’s illness and the subsequent medical procedure and the details surrounding it remain unclear, it certainly appears that Zimmer is doing fine now and that the situation hardly is serious, especially considering that Turner was cracking wise about it Friday.

“I told them six weeks with them and look what they’re doing to the guy,” Turner told reporters about what he told players. “So let’s go play better and win. Right?”

Zimmer’s first year as Vikings head coach arguably has been one of the more turbulent rookie campaigns in NFL coaching history. Between losing his starting quarterback Matt Cassel and starting left guard Brandon Fusco for the year in the season’s first few weeks, he has also had to deal with a rash of untimely injuries. Starting linebacker and defensive leader Chad Greenway was out for several weeks with rib and hand injuries and talented tight end Kyle Rudolph is still out of the lineup, among other nagging bumps and bruises.

Granted, that’s all part and parcel for any NFL coach, no matter his experience level, but that’s only where Zimmer’s issues start.

The  off-the-field incidents have obviously proved to be most devastating for the Vikings and Zimmer, beginning and ending with Adrian Peterson. The running back’s child abuse case and the other sordid details that have come to light since the story broke last month but the season into a tailspin, not to mention the backlash and fallout of how the team initially mismanaged its handling of the scandal.

To further add to Zimmer’s overflowing plate of distractions, setbacks and so on, starting defensive tackle Linval Joseph was shot in the leg at a nightclub following a preseason game. Fellow defensive lineman Tom Johnson also was arrested following an incident at a club when he was pepper-sprayed and arrested by police earlier this month and the team was forced to release Jerome Simpson after it came to light that the wide receiver ran afoul of the law once again during the summer, cutting the veteran loose just as he was set to return from a suspension.

Add that all to a 2-4 start and that’s a recipe for a dish no rookie coach wants to be dealing with straightaway in the first few months of a first season.

With all that in mind, it would be hardly surprising if it came to light that Zimmer’s “minor procedure” was caused in part by stress. Good grief.

(photo credit: Jerry Holt/Star Tribune)