The Vikings will be without head coach Mike Zimmer during tonight's nationally televised game against the Dallas Cowboys. Zimmer is recovering after undergoing emergency surgery last night to fix a detached retina.
"Coach Zimmer will not be coaching tonight," said Vikings general manager Rick Spielman. "We felt this for the best interest of his health."
Zimmer, who had a procedure to repair a torn retina on Nov. 1, started losing his vision during the team's practice on Wednesday, leading to the emergency operation.
Details about Zimmer's vision going forward remain unknown. According to the National Eye Institute, detached retinas that aren't fixed quickly can lead to permanent vision loss.
Special teams coordinator Mike Priefer will serve as the interim head coach against the Cowboys while George Edwards runs the defense and Pat Shurmur coordinates the offense.
When will Zimmer return?
"We're just worried about today," Spielman said. "We're taking it one day at time."
"We have to see how his eye responds to that surgery. So we'll make all that determination going forward."
Zimmer wanted to coach
Spielman is forcing Zimmer to take care of his health before returning to work.
"He's never missed a game. I know how hard this is on him," Spielman continued. "If you go back, even when he had to go through the tragedy of his wife passing away, he did coach. This is the first time he's ever going to miss a game."
Torn retina in November
Zimmer could have gone blind from a torn retina that was diagnosed a day after he scratched his eye in Minnesota's 20-10 loss to the Chicago Bears on Halloween. A procedure the next day delayed Zimmer's normal Tuesday press conference, but he continued to work immediately after the procedure.
“I’ve been watching film with one eye all week,” Zimmer joked at the time.