Sportress of Blogitude

Mike Zimmer denies details of slaughtered stuffed animal story

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Mike Zimmer earlier this week was at the center of a story surrounding one of most bizarre motivational tactics ever employed in NFL history. To hear it from the Minnesota Vikings head coach, though, he wasn’t the individual behind it.

Details surfaced in the wake of the Vikings’ disappointing 21-10 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles last Sunday that Zimmer had warned his players about becoming overconfident upon the return from their bye week. He had done so by allegedly littering the locker room with slaughtered stuffed animals, mostly cats. The throats of said stuffed animals were slit and red paint had been splattered upon some of them. Hanging on a large stuffed animal cat was a sign read, “Fat Cats Get Slaughtered.”

The apparent message being sent to the players was not to get overconfident with the team’s 5-0 record heading into the Eagles game.

But Zimmer took to the podium on Thursday and adamantly denied the allegations he was behind the “slaughter.”

After firing off a series of sensational headlines from reports he printed offalleging his purported exploits, Zimmer disputed his role, saying any stuffed animals he had at team headquarters were destined for charity.

“I want to set the record straight on an erroneous report that I feel like attacked my character and my reputation,” Zimmer said, via ESPN. “Actually, the stuffed animals I did have here were given to charity, to Toys for Tots. It just kind of goes to show you that when one thing gets out there — and it was updated correctly, that I had nothing to do with it — but unfortunately, the headlines still keep coming out, and it bothers me.”

As Zimmer notes, the original reporting on the slaughtered stuffed animal story came from the Star Tribune, which has since corrected the article, removing Zimmer’s name as the one responsible.

In the end, it made for quite the sensational story about a truly off-the-wall motivational ploy, albeit an ultimately ineffective one. It just didn’t come from Zimmer.

“I do a lot of crazy stuff,” he said, “but I’ll admit it when I do it.”

Fair enough.