Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer will miss OTAs to take a “few weeks” away from the team after undergoing an eighth eye surgery last week.
General manager Rick Spielman announced Monday that Zimmer will take the time to focus on his health while organized team activities begin this week.
“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,” Spielman said 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, 60, later talked about his medical leave during an interview on KFAN-FM in Minneapolis.
“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 Monday. “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 to heal 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 has undergone eight procedures since scratching his right eye in a game against the Chicago Bears on Oct. 31.
“It’s so complicated, but they took the silicone … out,” Zimmer told reporters Saturday of his latest surgery. “They put the gas bubble in. … Hopefully we’re done. I thought that before. We’ll see.”
Zimmer had the first surgery, for a torn retina, early in November. He underwent emergency surgery for a detached retina in his right eye last Nov. 30 and missed the game against the Dallas Cowboys on Dec. 1. He returned to coach the next game against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Dec. 11 while wearing a patch over his right eye and switching between reading glasses and sunglasses.
Zimmer, who had two surgeries in April, can’t fly in an airplane for six weeks after the latest surgery. He plans to remain in contact with his assistants throughout OTAs and the coaches will be sending him practice videos to review every day.
Offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur and offensive line coach Tony Sparano are two of the assistants with previous head coaching experience.
“It’s unfortunate timing but it’s more important to do it now than during the season,” Zimmer said in the interview with KFAN.
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