NOT-SO-SUBTLE MESSAGE

The Dolphins were greeted with an interesting prop when they walked into their training camp locker room to begin preparations for Saturday's game at Minnesota.

Hanging from the ceiling of the locker room was a wooden lobster trap, with a logo of the Vikings dangling below it.

"It's just a little reminder that nine wins doesn't guarantee us anything," Wannstedt said. "We know that, but I think just having something in there that is somewhat symbolic, that the guys see every time they walk by, hopefully is a reminder to make sure that we take nothing for granted and do the little things in our preparation and focus all week long like we did last week."

This isn't the first time Wannstedt has done something like this to try to motivate his players.

Just two seasons ago, he put a mousetrap in every player's locker before a game against the San Diego Chargers. The Dolphins wound up winning 17-7 at Qualcomm Stadium.

"Dave has a creative way to get that point across even more," said defensive end Jason Taylor. "I wonder how long it is going to stay up there. I'm sure someone is going to knock it down before the week is over. I'm not going to bother it, but it will be a defensive lineman for sure because they are the biggest jokesters around."

The Dolphins know better than to take Minnesota lightly after the Vikings knocked off playoff-bound New Orleans last Sunday, almost won at Green Bay the previous week and took Atlanta to overtime the previous Sunday.

"We can't get lulled to sleep and think they're not a good team because they don't have a good record," said defensive end Adewale Ogunleye. "If we don't look at Minnesota for what they are, we could get beat."

Veteran wide receiver Cris Carter didn't really think much of the symbol, saying it was "not necessarily my style." The other problem was that not everybody recognized that it was a lobster trap.

"My spirit was a little broken," said Wannstedt. "Pat Surtain was the first guy in and I asked him, 'What do you think?' He said, 'Where did you get that bird's nest, Coach?' "

But in the end Wannstedt's message got across loud and clear.

"He (Coach Wannstedt) brought up the subject and we kind of knew that it was coming," said quarterback Jay Fiedler. "When I walked in this morning and saw that up there I knew a speech was coming. It is appropriate.

"We are coming off a big win. We need another win. There is no chance for us to let down now. The Vikings are playing good football right now. The last few weeks they have beaten good teams and played tough against other good teams and have been close in Green Bay and went to overtime against Atlanta. They won last week. They are playing good football right now. We can't let our guard at all."


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