Vikings coach Mike Zimmer was cleared by doctors Sunday and coached his second practice of the week Tuesday in his return to Winter Park.
Zimmer, who turned 61 on Monday, returned to organized team activities after taking two weeks to rest his surgically-repaired right eye at his northern Kentucky ranch. While the outlook is optimistic, Zimmer admitted he should've given his eye injury more attention after originally scratching the retina during an Oct. 31 game in Chicago.
"I've probably done a little bit more research since the season has ended with all this stuff, and I probably needed to take it a little more serious than what I did," Zimmer said.
Behind sunglasses, Zimmer said his right retina is in "good shape" with vision progressing slowly only three weeks removed from his latest eye surgery. The gas bubble holding his retina in place is dissolving, but gives him the affect of looking through water in spots. Zimmer said his doctor's orders call for him to test the eye in moderation and be smart moving forward.
"[Doctors] are going to check it again in a couple weeks," Zimmer said. "I can't fly or do any of that kind of stuff, but right now it's probably the best reports I've had since all this stuff started."
Zimmer missed six OTAs in two weeks, but stayed involved by watching film daily, calling into meetings and sending notes to assistant coaches and players. An increased tempo in practice returned along with the Vikings head coach.
"Obviously the atmosphere has been a little different, higher intensity," receiver Adam Thielen said.
Zimmer's sense of humor also came back with him to Minnesota.
"The only thing [the doctor] said was I shouldn't do very many media sessions anymore," he joked.
Bradford held out
Sam Bradford threw some passes with fellow quarterbacks to start practice, but he sat out the rest with his helmet in hand. He did not take part in any team drills.
"He's got a little muscle tightness," Zimmer said. "So we just backed him off. I think he'll be out there tomorrow."
Quarterbacks Case Keenum and Taylor Heinicke swapped reps with the starting offense as they continue competing for the No. 2 job behind Bradford.
Newman 'hyped up'
Terence Newman is the Vikings' oldest player at 38, but you couldn't tell Tuesday as he took first-team reps as the slot cornerback and jawed back and forth with receiver Stefon Diggs.
"Terence was pretty hyped up today," cornerback Xavier Rhodes said. "We love to see that. He's always been a mellow, chill guy. They got us riled up today."
It all appeared to start when Heinicke connected with receiver Moritz Bohringer on a deep pass, inciting defenders such as Newman to talk back to a celebrating offense.
Teddy Bridgewater was given the "green light" for more rehab exercises on the side of practice, Zimmer said. The Vikings quarterback still is stepping through dropbacks against resistance bands, but he's giving Zimmer reasons for optimism.
"I'm gone for two weeks and obviously he's not on [practice] tape," Zimmer said. "So I come back [Monday] and I said Teddy is moving better, quite a bit better in my opinion. He's still got a long way to go. I think he's happy with the progress."