EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Coach Mike Zimmer kicked off Thursday’s press conference by setting the record straight regarding an error made and since corrected by the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

In reporting that Zimmer had distributed fat stuffed-animal cats around Winter Park as a motivational tactic to remind players not to become complacent, the newspaper erroneously reported that Zimmer had the stuffed animal’s throats slit and red paint applied to the slash. Someone else did that to one of the stuffed animals after Zimmer had distributed them.

Zimmer opened by reading 10 headlines from news outlets around the country referring to Zimmer slashing the throats of stuffed animals.

Here they are, according to Zimmer: Mike Zimmer mass slaughtering of stuffed animals; Motivational tactic didn’t help; Failed to motivate Vikings with bloodied stuffed animals; Weird motivational techniques; Slaughtered a bunch of stuffed animals; Violent stuffed animal message didn’t help Vikings in loss; Commits stuffed-animal genocide; Staging stuffed-animal massacre; Stuffed-animal slaughter karma turns on Vikings; Slitting the throats of stuffed animals not enough to motivate.

“I want to set the record straight on an erroneous report that I feel like attacked my character and my reputation,” said Zimmer, who added that he donated the stuffed animals to charity. “It bothers me…My foundation website is getting things saying, ‘Your dad’s crazy and blah, blah, blah and all this stuff.’ I do a lot of crazy stuff, but I’ll admit it when I do it.”

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