The Vikings lost their coach Mike Zimmer for at least one game after emergency eye surgery Wednesday night, but his absence might provide the extra motivation his players need to upset the NFL’s best team.
When news broke Zimmer would miss Thursday night’s game against Dallas, sports TV personalities began changing their tone about the final results.
Skip Bayless said on his Fox Sports 1 morning show he got to know Zimmer during his days in Dallas and “He is a players kind of coach. … I think there is love for him in that locker room, so they’re going to play even harder tonight without him. I think it will be a rallying point. … And [U.S. Bank Stadium] has become one of the loudest, if not the loudest place, in the National Football League.”
Nate Burleson, the former Vikings receiver and NFL Network analyst, said on Good Morning Football Thursday “For [players] it doesn’t impact the game too much because when we’re on the field and one of the coaches is missing, we kind of look at it as a player missing with the next-guy-up mentality. Most teams prepare themselves for this situation.
“It’s frustrating, but it’s another thing they have to play for, another thing they have to work for, and it’s another thing they put on that list and say ‘We have to win for it.’ ”
The reaction on social media shared a similar tone with many well-wishes for Zimmer:
Prayers for Mike Zimmer, who had surgery for a detached retina. A great man who's seen enough tragedy in his life.— Charean Williams (@NFLCharean) December 1, 2016
This business takes so much from you & so much laser focus but at this moment it doesn't matter. Praying for coach Zimmer & his health.— Ron Johnson (@3RonJohnson) December 1, 2016
Just heard about Zim's emergency eye surgery. Don't know details but obviously that's horrifying. Sending prayers to Mike and his family.— Nick Swardson (@NickSwardson) December 1, 2016
#MikeZimmer must be compliant and do it right this 3rd eye surgery.— David J. Chao, MD (@ProFootballDoc) December 1, 2016
25% chance he could have some vision loss otherwise.
Predicting a win for the Vikes tonight!! Let's do this for Coach Zimmer!! 27-24 Vikings pic.twitter.com/3ex22WC6nv— Josh Duhamel (@joshduhamel) December 1, 2016
ESPN reports Zimmer has a torn retina. That's much better than detatched. I know. I've had FOUR of them and my vision has not been the same— LaVelle E. Neal III (@LaVelleNeal) December 1, 2016
My dad is blind. I've seen how hard that is. I sure hope Mike Zimmer listens to doctors, thinks of his long term health before anything else— chipscoggins (@chipscoggins) December 1, 2016
After hearing of Zimmer's detached retina, I am never sleeping in my contact lenses ever again. Who wants to help me pick out new glasses?— Courtney Fallon (@CourtneyFallon_) December 1, 2016
Here's hoping Mike Zimmer experiences no long-term vision loss and will be back coaching the #Vikings as soon as he is able. Scary stuff.— Matt Vensel (@mattvensel) December 1, 2016
Mike Zimmer has never missed a game as a coach, even the week after his wife passed away. “I know it’s hard on him,” Rick Spielman said.— Kevin Seifert (@SeifertESPN) December 1, 2016