Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer’s going to take another week off to rest after his latest eye surgery, but his influence will never be far from the team.
Mostly, that’s because he’s trusted old friend Andre Patterson to play his part while he’s gone.
“He just texted me and asked me to make sure I kind of get his message across to the team,” the Vikings defensive line coach said, via Andrew Krammer of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. “We’ve been together a long time. We have a close friendship, and I think he trusts I’m going to do the best job I can to get his voice across.”
The Vikings haven’t named an interim coach like they did last year when Zimmer was away for a week (special teams coach Mike Priefer coached them against the Cowboys). Coordinators are running their respective sides of the ball during Organized Team Activities, and Zimmer’s still watching practice film every day, but it’s Patterson who lends direction.
Zimmer trusts Patterson for a reason. They’ve known each other since 1988, when they worked together at Weber State. Zimmer has hired Patterson four times, and his children have been babysitters for Patterson’s.
“Well, Andre knows me probably better than anyone there, including [my son] Adam,” Zimmer said.
That’s why Patterson leaned on his boss to take some time away to get well.
“On a personal level, I love the man,” Patterson said. “He’s like a brother to me. So obviously my number one concern was his health . . . because that’s the best thing for our football team. That’s the best thing for our players. That’s the best thing for our coaches. That’s the best thing for our front office. That’s the best thing for our fans.
“Mike is tough, ornery and a hard worker. I had to get the point across to him at some point that Mike had to think about Mike and get himself healthy. Whatever we had to do to get that done, that was the most important thing.”
Such that Zimmer is able to step away for a bit, having someone he trusts like Patterson on staff should only help as he takes the time he needs.