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Zimmer: Players, Coaches Will Step Up During OTAs

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. —The Vikings will take a step toward the 2017 season this week as they begin Organized Team Activities.

Minnesota will do so without Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer at the helm.

The Vikings announced Monday that Zimmer will step away from the team for a few weeks to rest and heal his right eye after multiple procedures.

Zimmer spoke with "Voice of the Vikings" Paul Allen on his *9 to Noon *show on KFAN 100.3-FM and said he's not worried about the team's leadership in his absence.

Vikings Offensive Coordinator Pat Shurmur and Defensive Coordinator George Edwards will oversee their units, while Special Teams Coordinator Mike Priefer will have a hands-on role as well.

Zimmer said his son, Vikings linebackers coach Adam Zimmer, will help out with drills and situations. Vikings defensive line coach Andre Patterson will also be a key component.

"I've kind of delegated a little bit to everybody," Zimmer said. "Obviously, the coordinators are heading their sides of the ball.

"Adam is taking care of the situation part of practice that I do every day," Zimmer added. "And then Andre Patterson, he's the one that kind of rallies everybody up and makes sure that my message gets relayed to the coaches and the players."

Zimmer said the decision to step away wasn't an easy one.

"I was the one pushing back on it because I know how important it is to be with the team and try to accomplish things we want to get accomplished during these OTAs," Zimmer said. "But we have a great bunch of coaches, and they do a good job.

"They're going to send me the video every day, and I'll be in contact with them every day as far as things that I see and things we need to do," Zimmer added. "It's unfortunate timing, but it's more important to do it now than during the season."

Zimmer also noted the players won't have a problem providing leadership of their own.

"My guys are soldiers. They're going to do exactly what they're told, they have my back 100 percent, I have no doubt about any of the coaches or any of the players," Zimmer said. "Really, the players keep asking, 'Why is he here?' 'Why is he doing this?' 'Shouldn't he be home resting?,'" Zimmer added. "So they're the ones looking out for me probably more than any of them."

Zimmer is in his fourth season as head coach and is 26-22 during that span. He missed Minnesota's game against Dallas last December because of an emergency eye surgery. The Vikings went 11-5 and won the NFC North in 2015 before going 8-8 last season.

Zimmer told Allen he likes his team's chance of having an improved season in 2017.

"I heard all the stuff in the offseason and this and that, but this is a good football team," Zimmer said. "We've got good players on this team and good people on this team. They work their rear ends off.

"I love the attitude of this team. Obviously, we have to come together as a group and try to get better in all the situations," Zimmer added. "But I feel good about the guys that (Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman) has acquired here. Let's go out and kick it off and let's see if we can prove it to people."

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