Mike Zimmer returns to Minnesota Vikings, optimistic about eye

Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer returned to the team this week and said he’s optimistic about his eye and may have learned his lesson.

Mike Zimmer took two weeks off from coaching the Minnesota Vikings in an attempt to let the eighth eye surgery in as many months heal.

He said he is optimistic about the prognosis as he returned this week to coaching. He even had jokes.

“[The doctor] said everything was good. He said the only thing is I probably shouldn’t do as many media sessions anymore,” Zimmer quipped.

The head coach met with his doctor on Sunday and returned to coaching on Monday for the final week of organized team activities. Next week is minicamp, then some more time off before training camp.

The time off seemed to do his eye and his spirits good, although he won’t know the full extent of his recovery from this latest procedure until the bubble placed in his eye to keep his retina in place dissolves.

“The pressure is good. The bubble is dissolving. The retina is in good shape. He said just be smart,” Zimmer said.

“It’s hard to see through the bubble, but above the bubble I can see and below the bubble I can see. I can see right and left. The vision is pretty good. It’s hard to tell if it’s 20-20 or 20-800. You can’t really tell from any of that. It’s just annoying sometimes when you’re seeing like a glass of water over your eye.”

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Doctors said moderation with Zimmer’s coaching activities is the best thing, but he didn’t appear to alter his coaching style in Tuesday’s practice that was open to the media. He was still observing everything, offering pointers to players and having conversations with individuals as the practice progressed.

While he was away at his ranch in Kentucky, he still got film of practices and offered daily feedback to players and coaches.

“I thought the players did a great job of understanding the situation” and what the Vikings were trying to accomplish, he said. “They listened to all the direction I was trying to give them each day. They did a very good job. I’m very lucky and very fortunate to have not only the coaches that I have but the team that I have.”

Asked if getting away for two weeks was worth it, he searched for how he wanted to phrase his response.

“I guess. I didn’t have much choice,” he said. “If everything goes good, it’s worth it; and if it doesn’t, it’s not.”

Still, he said this is “probably the most optimistic” he has been about his recovery.

After trying to return to coaching quickly after his previous surgeries to repair the detached retina and continuing to pile up ensuing surgeries, he seemed to have learned a lesson about his previous approach.

“Right now it’s probably the best reports that I’ve had since all this stuff started [last November],” he said. “I’ve probably done a little more research since the season got done and all that stuff and I probably needed to take it a little more serious than I did.”


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