On Monday morning at Winter Park the Vikings’ locker stalls were lined with new black shirts bearing the NFC logo and “North” printed on the front.
The important message was on the back: “Beat Green Bay!”
The Vikings host division rival Green Bay on Sunday at TCF Bank Stadium with a chance to build a two-game lead in the NFC North. They took over the top spot in the division with Sunday’s 30-14 win at Oakland, while the Packers fell a game back after losing to Detroit, 18-16.
“Just walked in this morning and saw it. So it’s a nice shirt,” defensive tackle Linval Joseph said with a laugh. “This is a big week. Green Bay is a very good team. We just have to execute small ball and [improve to] 8-2. ”
Players and staff wore the shirts around Winter Park Monday morning to emphasize the importance of the Week 11 matchup even more.
Although veteran Brian Robison said the players don’t need a shirt to remind them what’s at stake.
“Shirts are shirts. I don’t care about shirts,” Robison said. “It’s about what we do on Sunday.”
Rookie wide receiver Stefon Diggs saw the bigger picture behind the motivational tactic.
“[It is] not so much this game, but … what we got going on and how much more serious this is about to get,” Diggs said. “Of course it’s going to be a serious game. Of course coach is going to be even tighter this week to keep at it.
“Our record and what we’re doing right now, you can’t take a break and lighten up. You gotta continue to grind and grind even harder to be honest.”