Mike Zimmer was to have emergency eye surgery, uncertain for Thursday


MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer was expected to have emergency eye surgery Wednesday night, and his availability to coach Thursday's game against the Dallas Cowboys is uncertain, the team announced.

General manager Rick Spielman said in a statement Wednesday that the Vikings have a contingency plan if Zimmer is not able to coach the game. Spielman is expected to speak to reporters at some point Thursday morning.

Zimmer had surgery to repair a torn retina on his right eye Nov. 1, after he had scratched his eye during the Vikings' loss to the Chicago Bears on Oct. 31. Doctors had initially told Zimmer he ran the risk of going blind in the eye if he did not have the first surgery.

He was back at work later that day but had a second procedure on his eye Nov. 8. His eye appeared bloodshot during a news conference Nov. 9, as the coach squinted against bright lights, but Zimmer said that day that his vision was good.

Asked that day if he had made any adjustments to his schedule because of the operation, Zimmer said, "No, it's back to work, back to the grind."

Interim offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur and offensive line coach Tony Sparano have both been NFL head coaches, and Shurmur assumed offensive playcalling duties when Norv Turner resigned Nov. 2, the same day Zimmer first discussed his eye surgery.