INDIANAPOLIS – Vikings coach Mike Zimmer confirmed Thursday that he is still scheduled to have a fifth procedure done on his right eye in April, a couple of weeks before the NFL draft. Because that surgery will prevent him from flying for three weeks, he has been waiting to do it until after this week’s NFL scouting combine and the upcoming pro-day circuit.
He added that two months after that procedure, he will have cataract surgery, too.
“Then I’ll be good to go, I think,” Zimmer said. “I mean, hopefully.”
Squinting with his right eye at a reporter who was seated a few feet away, Zimmer said, “I can make you out, but you’re blurry.” His doctor told him that after this fifth surgery, his vision in the eye will be about 50 percent better. “And then hopefully after that cataract [surgery] I’ll be good.”
However, Zimmer said he was told there is a “high likelihood” he could experience similar vision issues in his other eye down the road.
Zimmer, 60, continues to maintain a sense of humor about his eye issues. Asked if the fuzzy vision in his right eye has impacted his offseason in any way, he replied: “I’m learning to shoot lefthanded. … I’m getting pretty good, too, shooting with my left eye.”
Zimmer on Peterson
Zimmer thinks it is a good thing for both the Vikings and Adrian Peterson that the team will allow the running back to reach free agency for the first time in his 10-year career.
“I think this is a good chance for him to go out and test the market and see what his value is,” the fourth-year coach said. “I think he understands there’s also a big benefit in finishing your career with one team.”
If Peterson does return, Zimmer believes he will still fit in the offense.
“It’s not just about scheme. It’s about players at the end of the day,” he said.
Waiting for Greenway
The Vikings are still waiting for Chad Greenway to announce whether he is retiring, something he is anticipated to reveal soon. If the 34-year-old does retire, which is the expectation, they will have to find someone to replace him at weakside outside linebacker.
Zimmer said that someone won’t be middle linebacker Eric Kendricks, who the Vikings believed might fit best on the weak side when drafting him in 2015.
“I don’t think moving him right now is the right thing to do. He’s played good the last two years,” Zimmer said. “He’s a very instinctive guy that plays all over the place. … If he’s lined up in the middle, he has a chance to make a few more plays everywhere. So I don’t foresee moving him.”
Zimmer added he would be comfortable entering spring workouts with second-year Edmond Robinson and fifth-year Emmanuel Lamur battling for Greenway’s old role as the third linebacker, which is a part-time gig.
Wisdom from a veteran
Asked about the intangibles Greenway brought to the team, Zimmer raised eyebrows with a revealing anecdote about his own relationship with players and his willingness to become a better leader after a soap-opera 2016 season that saw the Vikings finish 8-8 after a 5-0 start.
“I guess it’s good and bad, but I had a lot of players come in and talk to me [after the season] and say, ‘Hey, Coach, we want you to be the best head coach you can be. Here’s some things that might help you [with] the way you handle things,’ ” he said. “Not necessarily the schematic things.”
Zimmer continued: “So when Chad came in, I asked him, ‘What can I do better? Some of these situations that came up, how could I have handled it better?’ That’s one area that a guy like him can really help with.”