Mike Zimmer, who has had vision issues in recent weeks, had emergency eye surgery Wednesday and may miss Minnesota’s game against Dallas on Thursday night.
Wednesday marked Zimmer’s third eye procedure since Halloween.
“Well, this was supposed to happen (Thursday) – not the emergency, but it was a standard procedure,” St. Paul Pioneer Press Vikings writer Brian Murphy said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “Well, I wouldn’t say standard. It’s his third eye surgery since Halloween. He was going to have it (Thursday), but obviously there were some developments where his doctors felt it had to be done (Wednesday).”
Zimmer had vision issues in October and scratched his eye during a loss to the Bears on Oct. 31. He had his eye examined on Nov. 1 and underwent surgery on Nov. 2, this after doctors discovered a torn retina.
“He met with the media the following day and said if it wasn’t caught, it could have been problematic. It could have caused some blindness,” Murphy said. “He felt fortunate that they were able to find this, this torn retina, after he wasn’t able to see much during the game. He has had a second surgery this month since then and he was going to have another one (Thursday), but at this point, it sounds like there may be some issues with them tying to just save the eye and preserve his vision going forward. That’s obviously an issue for him personally. For the Vikings, it’s another kick in the shins in what has really been a really horrific five or six weeks for them.”
Minnesota (6-5) has lost five of six since starting 5-0. Thursday’s game against Dallas (10-1) is essentially must-win.
“Even before this news (about Zimmer), this was the defining game,” Murphy said. “They’re 6-5, they’ve lost five of six since starting 5-0, and they have the best team in the league in their house on prime time. The Lions have a two-game lead essentially because they have the tiebreaker, having beaten Minnesota twice in the last four weeks. They can’t afford to fall any further behind, even though it is a weak division. Nine wins might get you the division, but they’re looking at having to run the table if they lose (to Dallas).”
Minnesota’s defense dominated the NFL through the first five weeks of the season. That unit has slipped a bit in recent weeks, and the offense hasn’t been able to pick up the slack. The Vikings have scored 16 points or fewer in four of their last six games.
“They’re a very fragile team right now from a confidence standpoint,” Murphy said. “And from a pragmatic standpoint, to not have your head coach in the biggest must-win game of the season – in a season that’s been non-stop adversity since Teddy Bridgewater went down in late-August – I’d be fascinated to see how they respond if Zimmer is not on the sideline.”
Kickoff on Thursday is at 8:25 p.m. ET.