MANKATO — Whichever football team has employed Mike Zimmer for the past 17 seasons, he’s called their defensive plays on Sundays.

There’s still a possibility of that ending this season. The Vikings head coach says he’ll likely let defensive coordinator George Edwards call a preseason game next month to see if that frees up Zimmer to better manage games in his fourth season at the helm.

“I’llprobably have [Edwards] call one in a preseason game and see how it goes,” Zimmer said Tuesday. “I have not decided yet, no, totally for the season, but I think it’d be good practice in the preseason to see how it goes. See if it helps me help other areas of the game, so I’m kind of thinking that way.”

In three years under Zimmer, the Vikings defense has gone from one of the league’s worst to one of the best. He inherited a last-place scoring defense. They’ve since ranked 11th, fifth and sixth in points allowed each of the past three seasons.

However, Zimmer has openly discussed this offseason his thinking on how he could be a better head coach and manager on game days after the Vikings went 3-8 down the stretch last season with many close losses.

Giving Zimmer’s idea more credence was how Edwards fared in the game vs. Dallas, when Zimmer couldn’t coach due to emergency eye surgery. The Vikings lost, but limited the potent Cowboys to 264 yards and 17 points. Edwards last called plays full-time as the Bills defensive coordinator in 2011.

The Vikings’ first preseason game is Aug. 10 in Buffalo.

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