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Zimmer on surgery: 'I feel like I've let an awful lot of people down'

Mike Zimmer returned to practice sporting an eye patch Tuesday.

Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer made his first public comments since undergoing surgery last week to repair a detached retina in his right eye.

Zimmer missed the first game of his NFL coaching career on Thursday night – a 17-15 loss to the Dallas Cowboys.

He returned to practice Tuesday sporting an eye patch.

"I feel like I've let an awful lot of people down," Zimmer told KFAN's Dan Barrerio Tuesday. "The players, the fans, the coaches. Because there's an awful lot of people counting on me so that makes it a bit more difficult."

During the interview, Zimmer admitted that he did want to coach during the Thursday night game against Dallas, but was persuaded not to.

He told KFAN that he is eager to do his best to "figure out how to fix this team."

He said the surgery went well, and he'll have weekly meetings with his eye doctor for several months. Zimmer said he's uncertain about the long-term prognosis, though.

His return to practice Tuesday was welcomed by the players.

"He is one tough dude," Vikings offensive lineman Alex Boone told reporters after practice. "Knowing Zim, I would expect nothing less, he's the toughest guy I know. I'm just happy that he's back."

Zimmer is hopeful that he'll be able to travel with the team and coach in Jacksonville Sunday.

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