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As Minnesota Vikings conditioning starts, Mike Zimmer heads to surgery

The Minnesota Vikings start their offseason program this week as head coach Mike Zimmer heads to another surgery.

As the Minnesota Vikings start the first phase of their offseason conditioning program, which eventually transitions into practices, head coach Mike Zimmer starts that part of the offseason with another eye surgery.

It will mark at least the fifth surgery Zimmer has had on his right eye for a detached retina he suffered in the middle of the 2016 season. In order to have the least disruptive surgery during the season and allow him to travel via airplane, Zimmer elected to have an oil bubble placed in his eye last year. This time, however, Zimmer will have the more traditional method of have an oxygen-bases bubble in the eye.

He elected to wait until the predraft travel to college pro days and private workouts for prospects was over because he won’t be able to fly for three weeks after the oxygen bubble is inserted. In another two months, he will have what he hopes is the last surgery to his eye.

“I’ll have a cataract surgery and I’ll be good to go, I think. I mean, hopefully. If it all goes well,” he said six weeks ago when discussing his surgery schedule.

He said in early March that the vision in his right eye hasn’t really improved since the end of last season. An emergency surgery the night before a Thursday night game against the Dallas Cowboys caused Zimmer to miss one game. 

His surgery on Monday should give him 50 percent better vision.

One benefit for the outdoorsman is that he said he has learned to shoot left-handed.

The timing of the surgery made sense because the pro days and workouts are completed for this year’s draft. 

Although the Vikings start their offseason conditioning program on Monday, it is only Phase One, which is limited to strength and conditioning and physical rehabilitation only. In other words, there is no on-field instruction allowed by coaches.


Phase Two consists of three weeks of on-field workouts that can include individual player instruction and drills as well as team practices conducted on a “separates” basis. No live contact or team-offense-versus-team-defense drills are permitted.

Phase Three is when teams can conduct a total of 10 days of organized team activities. No live contact is permitted, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are permitted.

For the Vikings, OTAs begin with three practices from May 23-25, three more the following week on May 30-June 1, then four on the final week from June 5-8.

Their mandatory minicamp is June 13-15.

After that, Zimmer is likely to have what he hopes is his final surgery on the right eye.

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