Mike Zimmer returns to coaching, expected to travel to Jacksonville
After undergoing a fourth eye surgery in recent days, Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer on Monday returned to the team and resumed coaching duties, per a report from the Star Tribune. Barring any unforeseen circumstances or setbacks, Zimmer is expected to join the team on its flight to Florida for Sunday’s showdown with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Zimmer was unable to be on the sideline during the Vikings’ loss to the Dallas Cowboys last Thursday, instead reportedly listening to the game on the radio at his home while recuperating from an emergency procedure on a torn retina Wednesday night.
Reports out of the Twin Cities indicate Zimmer underwent the aforementioned fourth procedure on his eye Friday during a follow-up visit. Subsequent reporting indicates Zimmer “appears to be turning a corner for the better” following Friday’s surgery.
Zimmer’s ordeal began with his first surgery on Nov. 1 after he evidently scratched his eye during the Vikings’ loss to the Chicago Bears on Halloween night.
It remained unclear up until Monday’s report whether Zimmer would be cleared by doctors to make the nearly 1,500-mile flight to Jacksonville. A contingency plan reportedly was put in place where the Vikings third-year coach would be driven to Florida for Sunday’s game.
Zimmer is expected to address the media Wednesday for his regularly scheduled press conference.
Zimmer’s return is an encouraging development for a reeling Vikings squad. After starting the season 5-0, the team has dropped six of seven games to fall back to .500, with the latest setback coming with special teams coordinator Mike Priefer filling in for Zimmer during last Thursday’s tough loss to the Cowboys.
All said, the Vikings conceivably will have to win their remaining four games to put themselves in a position to qualify for spot in the postseason. Perhaps Zimmer’s inspirational return will spark a critical win against the hapless 2-10 Jaguars.