August 06, 2015

MANKATO, Minn. (AP) When Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer went to visit his father in a Florida hospital earlier this week, his sister suggested that he start watching some practice video on his iPad, hoping to get a response from their ailing dad, a former football coach.

''Pretty soon, he reached up and started holding the iPad,'' Zimmer said. ''He must have watched it for five minutes.''

Zimmer returned to training camp Thursday, and he received an ovation from the fans as he walked into the Minnesota State University athletic complex for the morning walk-through.

Zimmer missed practices Tuesday to be in Florida with his father, who has been in declining health. Offensive coordinator Norv Turner ran the team instead. The Vikings had Wednesday off.

Zimmer said his dad was doing better, and he hoped that a procedure today would improve things further. He declined to say much about his dad's illness, saying it has been a two-year struggle since a spinal stimulator was implanted in his back, and that procedure hit a nerve. Zimmer said his father hasn't eaten in about two weeks.

''I think he's going to be all right,'' Zimmer said. ''I had to get back to my other family.

''He's a tough (person). Way tougher than I am.''

Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater said it was good to have the head coach back at practice.

''I'm not too sure about his situation,'' Bridgewater said. ''Right now, we just have to continue to focus on football. It's a family-first atmosphere here, though.''

The Vikings have two more practices scheduled for Friday, before traveling to Canton, Ohio, for the Pro Football Hall of Fame game. The Vikings play the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday night.

Veteran center John Sullivan returned after taking two days off to be with his wife for the birth of their first child. Linebacker Anthony Barr sat out of both practices Thursday with inflammation in his left knee.

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