Vikings players come home to 'Beat Green Bay' T-shirts


Can a simple T-shirt set a team on a path toward victory? Vikings coach Mike Zimmer believes so.

When Vikings players arrived at the team facility on Monday, they were greeted by a shirt at their lockers. The front of the shirt featured an NFL logo and the text "NFC North". The back had a blunt message: "BEAT GREEN BAY".

The 7-2 Vikings have a one-game lead over the slumping Packers with a huge division matchup on tap for Sunday in Minnesota. The Packers have won the NFC North in each of the past four seasons.

Every game, all season

"Just walked in this morning and saw it. So it's a nice shirt," defensive tackle Linval Joseph told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "This is a big week. Green Bay is a very good team. We just have to execute small ball and 8-2."

When asked on Monday who was responsible for the shirts, Zimmer responded: "Me."

"We're making way too big a deal out of it. It's just a T-shirt," Zimmer added, per "You can go down to the store and print them up. It's not a big deal."

T-shirt motivation isn't a new tactic for NFL coaches. Back in the summer of 1999, I visited Jets camp and saw coaches and players wearing white T-shirts with the Jets logo on the front and "START OVER" in green lettering across the back. I bought one of the shirts because 19-year-olds don't know how to spend money.

A few weeks later, Jets quarterback Vinny Testaverde blew out his Achilles in the first half of the season opener, effectively ending New York's season before it began. START OVER was a failure for Bill Parcells. Perhaps Mike Zimmer will be met with greater fortune.