Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer will return to the Twin Cities on Thursday with some newfound freedom: He's been cleared to fly, according to Brian Murphy of the Pioneer Press.
Minnesota's head coach has had eight surgeries since November to repair a torn retina in his right eye. And the 61-year-old has been doing a ton of road trips because of his eye issues.
We don't know exactly how long Zimmer hasn't been able to fly, but following the conclusion of minicamp at Winter Park last month, Zimmer's son drove the two all the way from Minnesota to Dallas for Zimmer's daughter's wedding; then back to home to his ranch in Kentucky.
During the regular season last year, the team nearly drove Zimmer 1,500 miles for their Week 14 tilt against the Jacksonville Jaguars. But the head coach ended up making the trip through the air.
After his last operation in May, Zimmer had a gas bubble inserted into his retina with the hopes of stabilizing the eye. The fourth-year NFL head coach also told the Pioneer Press last week that he's done having surgeries, whether his eye fully heals or not.
Some thought he might even retire because of his issues but Zimmer vowed that won't stop him from coaching.
"I don’t want to go blind in this eye. But if that’s what it is, that’s what it is," said Zimmer in May. "This is not going to keep me from coaching one way or another.”
Vikings training camp opens in Mankato on July 23 with rookies reporting right away, followed by veterans three days later.