After a strong 5-0 start to the season, Mike Zimmer was afraid his team would get comfortable and lose a game they shouldn’t. That’s exactly what happened on Sunday. Perhaps the reason it happened even after he tried to stop it was because his motivation techniques were insane and unsettling.
Zimmer warned his players not to become “fat cats” who got lazy. He tried to drive his point home by mutilating a bunch of stuffed animals and drenching them in fake blood. Via Star Tribune:
“A couple of bloody plush toys still littered the locker room Friday as a reminder of the danger in the Vikings feeling too fat and happy.
Before dismissing his 5-0 team for the bye week, coach Mike Zimmer scattered stuffed animals of the feline variety throughout Winter Park. Their throats were slashed, with some of the white stuffing within seeping out, and were then splattered with red paint.
Hanging on the larger cat in the locker room was a sign that read ‘Fat Cats Get Slaughtered.’”
The message clearly didn’t work, probably because it comes across as creepy and insane, not reassuring or motivating. Trying new things to motivate your team is good, but if you go too far your players think you’ve lost your mind and you lose trust.
“We didn’t block anybody. We were soft. We got overpowered,” Zimmer said, later adding: “We need to do a better job. We’re not going to go down the street and pick up a bunch of guys. We need to get these guys better, and we need to do it quickly.”