Mike Zimmer has now undergone a total of seven surgeries on his right eye after requiring additional procedures this spring, the most recent April 25, the Vikings coach revealed Friday.
That operation came eight days after Zimmer said he was scheduled April 17 to have an oil bubble, which held his repaired retina in place, removed. Zimmer has also said he’ll need cataract surgery next month, when he turns 61 years old. It will be his eighth operation since Nov. 1.
Zimmer originally scratched his eye during the Oct. 31 game in Chicago last season. The issue persisted and eventually led to a torn retina.
When does he expect to have restored vision in his right eye?
“I hope now,” Zimmer said, under sunglasses. “But I don’t think it’s going to happen. Who knows?”
The Vikings declined an expensive fifth-year option for quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, but Zimmer said he’s “probably more optimistic” than he has ever been about Bridgewater eventually returning to the field.
Bridgewater, nine months removed from his left leg separating at the knee and tearing multiple ligaments, has been rehabbing at Winter Park while teammates have begun the first few weeks of the offseason program.
“I love Teddy Bridgewater,” Zimmer said. “The guy is working his rear end off and continues to fight every single day. Everything about him, when he’s rehabbing and doing the work he has to do, is the exact same way he approaches life. So, I’m excited. I’m probably more optimistic now about him potentially playing than I have [been] at any point in time, but he still has a long way to go.”
Elflein at the center
Pat Elflein’s NFL education at center began in earnest Friday during rookie minicamp.
A third-round draft pick (70th overall), he started applying the playbook to the practice field while making line adjustments from center. The Vikings also have an opening at right guard, where he could compete this summer after also starting there at Ohio State.
“I’m still learning all the guard calls and everything,” Elflein said. “I just want to be ready for either one.”
Inquiring about Floyd
The Vikings are one of multiple teams to have reached out to free-agent receiver Michael Floyd, a league source said.
Floyd, a 27-year-old St. Paul native and Cretin-Derham Hall graduate, spent five years with Arizona before he was released in December following a drunken-driving arrest. He pleaded guilty in February.
The former first-round pick has caught 24 touchdowns in five NFL seasons.
‘Until I feel good’
The Vikings didn’t finish strong last season, so Zimmer will have his foot on the gas this summer. He said he wants the team to have a “blue-collar” approach in 2017, wondering if he was “too cautious” heading into last season while prioritizing players’ health.
“Quite honestly, I don’t care how long practice goes,” Zimmer said. “If the schedule says two hours and I’m not happy about it, we’ll go 2:30. I don’t care. We’re going to do it until I feel good about it.”
U products get a shot
Two former Gophers, receiver Drew Wolitarsky and linebacker Jack Lynn, were among the two dozen tryouts the Vikings hosted Friday.
“In high school, I would’ve never thought this was even possible,” Wolitarsky said.
Other notable tryouts included QB Jack Nelson (Winona State), QB-turned-RB Tommy Armstrong (Nebraska), RB Gena Adams (Bemidji State), DB Austin Tennessee (Stevenson), LB Dakota Cox (New Mexico), DL Breion Creer (Iowa State) and LS Nick Dooley (UTEP).
Draft class unsigned
The Vikings’ entire draft class took the field Friday without any contracts finalized, a departure from last year when Laquon Treadwell was the only one unsigned at this point.
Treadwell participated lafter signing an injury waiver, which this year’s rookies likely have done to protect themselves.
“It’s not a big deal,” Zimmer said, pointing to how rookie wages are slotted based on draft position. However, the players union cautioned agents in a memo last month to push back against certain provisions in rookie contracts, according to USA Today, possibly prolonging the otherwise swift negotiations.