Vikings should steer clear of stuffed animal motivation

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Mike Zimmer has pushed a lot of the right buttons in his time with the Vikings. But some buttons aren't meant to be pushed. Some buttons shouldn't even exist.

Like, for instance, the big red button labeled "MUTILATED STUFFED ANIMAL MOTIVATIONAL PLOY."

Prior to sending his Vikings on a mini-break during their bye week, Zimmer arranged to have a host of stuffed animals -- of the "feline variety" according to the Star Tribune -- scattered across the team's Winter Park facility. One large stuffed cat sat in the locker room with a message hung from its neck: "Fat Cats Get Slaughtered."

In the ensuing days, someone took this labored metaphor a step further and slashed the innocent, furry throats of the animals, dabbing the cotton innards with red paint. Um.

The curious motivational ploy did not have its intended effect. The Vikings returned from their bye on Sunday and delivered easily their worst performance of the season in a 21-10 loss to the Eagles.

Zimmer should rein it in this week. You know, go with something more safe and traditional in his motivational tactics. Burying the ball is a trusty warhorse. Or he could crumple up the previous game plan and throw it in the trash in front of the team. People like that.

Let's just keep the children's toys out of it. Jeez.

UPDATE: Zimmer later denied having anything to do with the motivational stunt.

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