Zimmer to miss 'TNF' after emergency eye surgery

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  • By Jeremy Bergman NFL.com
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Mike Zimmer will not be on the sidelines Thursday.

The Vikings coach had emergency eye surgery for a detached retina on Wednesday and is out for Thursday night's game against the Cowboys, according to general manager Rick Spielman.

Special teams coordinator Mike Priefer will coach Minnesota in Zimmer's absence. Pat Shurmur will coach the offense while George Edwards will coach the defense.

Zimmer won't even watch the game. A team source told NFL Network's Stacey Dales that Zimmer doesn't want to use his eyes and will instead listen to the game on radio. Zimmer won't know level of success of the surgery for about 24 to 48 hours, Dales added.

Spielman told reporters during a Thursday morning conference call that Zimmer's vision became worse after the team's walk-thru.

"We felt this for the best interest of his health," Spielman said. "So for tonight, Mike Priefer will serve as the interim head coach. Pat Shurmur will run the offense. He's prepared all week to have a game plan, and his main focus tonight will be running the offense. [Defensive coordinator] George Edwards will run the defense."

Spielman added that Zimmer will be at home during the game tonight against the Cowboys.

In November, Zimmer underwent a minor medical procedure for a torn retina in his right eye after the coach said he scratched his eye during a Monday night loss to the Bears.

"The doctors, after the game, they checked and had me get in for an appointment, and I found out that I had a torn retina," Zimmer said, per the team's website. "Dr. Scott Sanderson and Dr. David Williams performed a procedure on my eye, fortunately.

"They said if you don't take care of those things that you have a possibility of going blind."

At the time, Zimmer added that he was watching game film with one eye and was, at times, forced to wear reading glasses.

The Vikings coach had a second procedure one week later on Nov. 8, per multiple reports, after which he told reporters, "I told (the players) if I can get six needles stuck in my eye the last two weeks, then they can suck it up for me." Wednesday's surgery was his third in less than one month.

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