Mike Zimmer celebrates 61st birthday with return to Vikings

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Mike Zimmer turned 61 on Monday. He probably couldn’t have thought of a better way to celebrate than to return to practice.

Zimmer rejoined the Vikings after missing two weeks to rest his right eye after yet another surgery. Zimmer’s players greeted his return by singing “Happy Birthday” during team meetings. That was Zimmer’s only gift.

“It was a good enough birthday present that we let him back in the building,” defensive end Brian Robison said via Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Zimmer underwent an eighth surgery for a detached retina on May 17. He took a leave of absence May 22.

His troubles began during an Oct. 31 game against Chicago when he scratched his eye. Zimmer underwent his first surgery the following day.