EAGAN, Minn. — If this were a normal year in normal times, Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer would be spending his days at Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center.
Perhaps he'd watch film and have morning meetings before heading out to the field for Organized Team Activity practices. Zimmer and the coaching staff would then have more meetings in the afternoon before heading home for the evening.
Zimmer's schedule looks a little different these days in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, as he's based at his Kentucky ranch with his son, Adam, the Vikings co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach.
Zimmer on Wednesday held a video call with the Twin Cities media and outlined his new routine. While Zimmer is still a full-time coach, he's now dabbling in farming, too.
"I woke up … I got a skid-steer [loader] … I went in the back and did some work way back there [on the property]," Zimmer explained. "We had a defensive staff meeting and then offensive meetings with the players.
"I took a break this afternoon, then got on the tractor and got the fields ready to plant and then came up here for a defensive staff meeting," Zimmer added. "In the evenings, we just kind of hang out, build a fire, get take-out. We got a smoker, so Adam loves smoking stuff on the smoker. Then he'll go jump in the hot tub and I'll go watch Chicago PD or something."
Zimmer, who said two of his three children are with him at the ranch, said he feels lucky to have a property that includes plenty of wide-open spaces for activities that help him pass the time.
"I'm fortunate that I'm here in Kentucky and I have 160 acres that, in between meetings, I can go get on the tractor or go four-wheeling or fishing, or shoot guns or whatever," Zimmer said. "So, it's not like I'm totally quarantined, even though I am.
"We built a golf course, so [Adam is] playing golf, too," Zimmer later added. "We've got one green and four tee boxes, but you can hit driver. We've got like a driving range, too."
Despite being able to partake in some leisure activities around the ranch, Zimmer made it clear that he would prefer to be fully focused on football right now.
He believes the Vikings roster is "in good shape," especially with a bevy of veterans returning on offense. And with some fresh faces on defense, Zimmer said he welcomed the challenge of maintaining the level of play he's built since arriving in 2014.
Most of all, however, he misses the men he bonds with each and every season.
"I really miss being around the players," Zimmer said. "Talking to them on the computer of the iPad or whatever is not the same, because I want to get out there and coach them, correct them, teach them … try to build the camaraderie we need with the football team. Unfortunately, we're not able to do that.
"I really missing being around the players," Zimmer added. "They're probably going to get an extra dose of me when they get back."
There's a good chance Zimmer misses talking shop with his staff in-person, too, whether it's longtime friend Andre Patterson, the Vikings co-defensive coordinator and defensive line coach, or fellow veteran coach Gary Kubiak, the Vikings offensive coordinator who is entering his 25th season of coaching in the league.
Zimmer quipped that he is able to have daily chats about the team with Adam Zimmer, who is also doubling as his dad's IT person.
"It's been good. He runs his meetings from downstairs, and I run mine from up here," Zimmer said. "It's been good because, number one, he can help me get all of this stuff organized, and if I can't figure it out, I text him and say, 'Come up here and fix this.'
"But yeah, at night, after dinner, we'll sit out and I'll have some crazy idea," Zimmer added. "He'll say, 'We can talk about it tomorrow with the rest of the defensive coaches,' but it's been good."
It remains to be seen when Vikings players and coaches will be able to return to the facility.
All the Vikings head coach can do is keep plugging away and get his team ready to return when the time calls for it.
In the meantime, he'll continue to adjust to the new normal, all while getting a little farming done, too.