Vikings coach Mike Zimmer had emergency eye surgery Wednesday night, putting his availability in doubt for Thursday night’s game against Dallas at U.S. Bank Stadium, Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press reports.
Minnesota general manager Rick Spielman released the news in a statement about Zimmer, who had his third eye surgery in a month.
“Mike Zimmer is having emergency eye surgery (Wednesday night),” Spielman said. “His status for coaching (Thursday’s) game is uncertain. I have met with the coaches and players and we have a contingency plan in place if Mike is unable to coach against Dallas.”
Spielman was scheduled to speak to the media in a conference call on Thursday morning.
Zimmer, 60, had surgery to repair a torn retina Nov. 1 and had another procedure Nov. 8.
Zimmer revealed Nov. 2 he had scratched his eye during a 20-10 loss at Chicago on Oct. 31, and had trouble seeing during the game. He missed a scheduled press conference on Nov. 1 because of his first surgery.
Zimmer met with the media outdoors on Nov. 2 while wearing dark glasses. He said then he had been warned that any delay in treating the torn retina would have put him at risk for blindness.
“It’s probably a good thing that I scratched my eye during the game,” Zimmer said then. “Otherwise, I may not have caught it in time. But hopefully everything will be all right.”
If Zimmer can’t coach Thursday, the Vikings could turn to one of two assistants who have been NFL head coaches. Offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur coached Cleveland from 2011-12 and served one game last year as Philadelphia’s interim coach. Offensive line coach Tony Sparano coached Miami from 2008-11 and was interim coach with Oakland for 12 games in 2014.