Mike McCarthy needed to do something to inspire his team after the Cowboys lost four straight games and fell to 2-7 last week.
The coach did do something -- something that surely no Dallas player was expecting.
At a pregame meeting on Saturday night ahead of the team's matchup with a surging Vikings team, McCarthy pulled out the big guns. In the ball room of the hotel where the Cowboys were staying, the coach lined up a row of watermelons, each with a different objective for the game written on it. McCarthy went down the row with a sledge hammer, reading off each objective and smashing the melon.
The atmosphere in the room was reportedly electric. Players roared as McCarthy smashed his way through the team's goals, according to NFL insider Tom Pelissero.
McCarthy's goal was to emphasize the importance of Dallas' defense "hammering" the ball out of Dalvin Cook's hands.
The final watermelon had a photo of the Minnesota running back taped on it. When McCarthy reached the end of the line, Cowboys defensive end Demarcus Lawrence jumped up and said "I've got to get that one!" and smashed the melon.
Though unconventional, the head coach's strategy seemingly worked. Dallas hammered home all of McCarthy's objectives en route to a solid 31-28 win over the Vikings.
Safety Donovan Wilson really took the message to heart, forcing two huge fumbles on Sunday night. Early in the game Wilson made an incredible strip sack with a massive hit on Kirk Cousins. Later in the game, the safety delivered another monster hit on Dalvin Cook across the middle, popping the ball out to be retrieved by non other than Lawrence.
This is really the first time all season where it looked like the Cowboys were having fun out on the field. Conflicts between players and coaches have plagued the team all year and put a significant strain on team chemistry.
Maybe this bit of light-hearted fun from McCarthy on Saturday was exactly what Dallas needed.
Even with a lackluster 3-7 record, the Cowboys are still in the hunt for the lead in the NFC East. With arguably the weakest remaining schedule in the division, Dallas unbelievably has a good shot at claiming a playoff spot this season.
McCarthy and his squad will try to string together their first winning streak of the year against Washington on Thursday.