Vikings coach Mike Zimmer didn’t have any new motivational apparel waiting for his players at Winter Park on Monday.
The last time he put “Beat Green Bay” shirts in the players’ lockers, the Packers ran away with a 30-13 victory in Week 11.
Zimmer is taking a different approach with the NFC North title on the line when the Vikings travel to Green Bay for the regular-season finale next Sunday night.
“I’m going to talk to them about the things we didn’t do well in the last ball game and the things we have to improve on in order to win,” Zimmer said. “I don’t know that this is a big motivational kind of week. It’s more about preparation and doing things right and performing under pressure.”
The Vikings secured their spot in the playoffs with a 49-17 victory over the New York Giants on Sunday night.
Green Bay is coming off its worst loss of the season, 38-8, at Arizona. The Packers had lost three straight entering the Vikings-Packers first matchup this season, but recovered to retake first place in the division.
“The last time we played them they lost three in a row. I’m sure they’ll play good, there’s no doubt about that,” Zimmer said. “I just happened to be watching [the Packers-Cardinals] game upstairs earlier today and [Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers] still looks like a surgeon to me when he throws the ball. He’s accurate and scrambles around. [The game] just kind of got out of hand. The score really, to me, was not indicative of how they were playing. I have a lot of respect for him.”
The Vikings will have to be better defensively if they hope to beat the Packers this time around, Zimmer said. Green Bay converted several Third-and-long situations and the Vikings struggled to get their offensive going early in their first meeting.
Zimmer, however, said his team has learned from that loss and is playing with the right mentality entering the final week of the regular season.
“We’ve learned the kind of mentality that we have to have these last four weeks. After we got beat by Seattle and the Green Bay game, the mentality of our team has changed a little bit for the better in my opinion,” Zimmer said. “I keep talking to them about it, that this is the type of mentality we have to have moving forward.”