EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (KMSP) - Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer had emergency eye surgery Wednesday night and will not coach the team in Thursday night’s game against the Dallas Cowboys, general manager Rick Spielman confirmed.
Speilman said Zimmer was having vision problems after Wednesday’s walk-through practice. He was evaluated by the Vikings medical team and underwent emergency surgery. Zimmer had a follow-up appointment Thursday morning and it was determined he would miss Thursday night’s game.
Special teams coach Mike Priefer will serve as interim head coach.
“At this time for this game, the best scenario is to have everybody do their roles,” Spielman said. “We have the utmost confidence in Mike Priefer that he will be able to handle the interim coaching duties tonight.”
Zimmer has never missed a game in his coaching career – not even when his wife passed away. But Spielman said he and Zimmer had “some tough conversations” after this surgery.
"Being blind in one eye is not worth one game in the NFL,” Spielman said.
Spielman wouldn’t elaborate on Zimmer’s recovery or the timetable for his return.
“We’re just worried about today,” Spielman said. “We want to get through today, we want to get through tonight’s game.”
Zimmer said had surgery for a torn retina in early November after scratching his eye during a Monday night game in Chicago.