Change of Heart

Minnesota head coach Mike Tice has changed his approach to the Vikings' road game at Chicago dramatically from a year ago.

Last year, Mike Tice's theme leading up to the game focused on Chicago being a "tough-guy town, and how in order to win in a tough-guy town the Vikings needed to run the ball.

The Vikings did indeed run the ball effectively. RB Onterrio Smith had 147 yards as the Vikings flexed their muscles.

The only problem is, the sluggish style played right into the Bears' hands. The underdog Bears were able to stay close to the Vikings' normally explosive offense until an interception in the end zone by Charles Tillman sealed a 13-10 Chicago victory.

Tice has been a little touchy when asked to talk about last year's game plan. He still insists it would have worked if the Vikings' hadn't turned the ball over at the end.

His true feelings probably can be read into his comments about this year's approach heading into the game.

"We're not going to go in there and be bull-headed and say we have to run the ball to win the game," Tice said. "We're going to go in there and say, `We're going to take what's there for us."

Tice has taken a lot of ribbing about his "tough-guy town" comment since he made it last season. He's not totally without a sense of humor about it.

He taped radio sound bites in which he responded "tough-guy town" after saying the names of each NFL city and other Upper Midwest cities.

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