Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer is taking some time away from the team to recover from eye surgery and restore his health, but he said the medical outlook is positive.
Zimmer recently underwent an eighth surgery on his right eye. He spoke with "Voice of the Vikings" Paul Allen on KFAN's *9 to Noon *show after a follow-up appointment Monday and shared that he received good news from the doctors.
"The retina looks great, the pressure in my eye is really good," Zimmer said. "So at this point now, we just need to take it easy and make sure it heals the right way."
Zimmer spoke with Allen over the phone en route to his ranch in Kentucky, where he will take a brief respite.
The head coach said he initially pushed back against the idea of missing organized team activity practices but conceded that it's more important to focus now on making a full recovery and returning to Winter Park.
Zimmer said he has full confidence in his coaches and his players who "have my back 100 percent."
"Really, the players keep asking, 'Why is he here?' 'Why is he doing this?' 'Shouldn't he be home resting?' " Zimmer said with a chuckle. "So they're the ones looking out for me probably more than [anyone]."
Zimmer provided an update dating back to April 17, when doctors put an oxygen bubble – "It's really just like a band aid to make sure the retina stays in place" – in his eye. A few days following the procedure, however, it was discovered that Zimmer had developed a cataract as a result of multiple surgeries.
When the doctor performed a procedure to remove the cataract, he replaced the oxygen bubble with a drop of oil.
"The oil is obviously thicker, and there's a little [spot] in your eye where it kind of circulates through your eye, that allows the pressure to stay at the right [amount]," Zimmer said. "The hole in mine was having some scar tissue, so it was actually closed up about 50 percent.
"So the pressure in my eye was very, very high," Zimmer added. "And that's when we said, 'We need to get this oil out,' and we put the oxygen bubble back in."
Zimmer disclosed that at one point, the pressure in his eye was measured at a 47, which is far above the ideal range of 10 to 21. For perspective, he explained that if pressure reaches 50, it can cause vomiting and other symptoms.
As of Monday morning, however, Zimmer received a positive progress report.
After the exchange of oxygen for oil during last week's surgery, the pressure had dropped to 11. At his follow-up visit, it had decreased to 9.
"This is the very best that it's ever looked," Zimmer said. "In this last surgery, he said when he was in there during the surgery, the retina looked perfect. It was totally attached everywhere; there were no weak spots."
Added Zimmer: "If I don't screw it up by going out and yelling at players and doing things that I shouldn't be doing, I think this is going to be the best result that we've had."