The Vikings announced that head coach Mike Zimmer is undergoing emergency eye surgery and will be forced to miss Thursday night’s game against the Cowboys. General manager Rick Spielman announced that special teams coordinator Mike Priefer will be in the driver’s seat while Zimmer is out. It’s not immediately clear whether Zimmer could miss multiple games.
“We are taking it one day at a time. We want to get through tonight’s game and then tomorrow we will reassess where we’re at,” Spielman said.
This is at least the third eye operation for Zimmer, as Tom Pelissero of USA Today tweets. Zimmer previously had eye surgery in early November after tearing his retina during a game, as Dave Campbell of the Associated Press detailed at the time. Zimmer was able to coach the Vikings’ subsequent game, but did note that he had not sought immediate treatment, he may have been at risk for blindness.
The decision to go with Priefer is interesting, considering that the Vikings already have two former head coaches on staff. Offensive line coach Tony Sparano was previously the head coach of both the Dolphins and Raiders, while offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur once led the Browns. Former offensive coordinator Norv Turner also had head coaching experience, but he resigned earlier this month.
PFR extends its best wishes to Coach Zimmer and hopes for a safe, quick, and thorough recovery.
This post was modified from an earlier version published on Wednesday.