Mike Zimmer says he is following doctor’s orders and has a handful of limitations after his latest eye surgery, but players didn’t notice much different during Tuesday’s walk-through.
Outside of the white patch taped over the Vikings coach’s right eye.
“He still can see everything with one patch over his eye,” cornerback Captain Munnerlyn said after practice. “If you made a mistake, he still sees it — ‘I see that!’ I’m like, ‘Wait a minute!’ ”
Zimmer, who underwent a fourth operation Friday to address a detached retina and returned to coaching Monday, said there is “still a lot to be determined” with the immediate health of his right eye during his weekly KFAN radio appearance on Tuesday. Zimmer is scheduled hold his regular news conference Wednesday morning.
A Saturday follow-up appointment went well, Zimmer said, and another was planned before Wednesday’s practice. Zimmer added he’s been “very, very careful” with what doctors have requested he do as he prepares to travel for Sunday’s game in Jacksonville.
“I understand the seriousness of the issue and what it is,” Zimmer said. “If they tell me it’s in my best interest to sit in the box during the game or in my best interest to not go to the game, or there’s a possibility of losing my eyesight in this eye, then I’m going to listen to them.
“I think there’s a lot of speculation out there that says I’m not doing what the doctors are telling me to do, and I don’t believe that’s right.”
Zimmer hasn’t skipped much of a beat since multiple operations have been needed to fix what was first described in November as a torn retina. The 23-year NFL coaching veteran needed to miss his first game last Thursday against Dallas after his vision deteriorated the previous night and he required emergency surgery. Some “one-on-one, heart-to-heart” talks followed, General Manager Rick Spielman said.
“He’s the toughest guy I know,” guard Alex Boone said.
On Tuesday, Zimmer took a normal approach to the start of practice, walking between position groups before stopping to instruct cornerback Xavier Rhodes. He’s not allowed to look up, instead limited to “horizon, down,” Zimmer said, and needs to limit his own physical activity.
Zimmer can fly with the team to Jacksonville this weekend for Sunday’s game against the Jaguars because the method used to repair his retina involved using oil, not a gas bubble, which doesn’t restrict the patient from air travel, Zimmer told KFAN.
He returns to a 6-6 Vikings team that has lost six of the past seven games and is on the outside looking in at the NFC playoff race.
“We all knew he’d do anything possible to get back this week,” running back Jerick McKinnon said. “It’s good to have him back. He’s on us hard and trying to get things turned around.”