Tice Still on the Hot Seat

While Sunday's loss at Baltimore means the Vikings' immediate future won't include a second consecutive trip to the playoffs, coach Mike Tice remained uncertain about what his future holds.

Tice's contract is set to expire on Jan. 31, and owner Zygi Wilf has given no indication if he'll be retained. Tice said his agent, Jimmy Sexton, did get a call from Wilf, but the brief conversation was more for introductory purposes.

"The indications are what he's communicated to you (media) people that he's going to make the decision after the season," Tice said of Wilf. "Hopefully, it's sooner than later because of the nature of the beast."

Tice's assistants also are in limbo.

"I don't know what Mr. Wilf is basing his decision on," said Tice, whose team will close the regular season Sunday against the NFC North division champion Bears. "He might have already made his decision. I don't know. I would be a liar if I said the only thing on my plate right now is beating the Bears. I have children, a life and a wife, and it also is my job to make sure everyone doesn't walk around depressed in this building including coaches and their families. ... The reality of it is the season for us officially ends Sunday."

The reality too, at least according to Tice, is that things won't slow down just because the games are finished.

"The thing that we all have to understand is the season doesn't slow down," he said. "Tuesday morning the train keeps rolling. We have to evaluate the roster.

"We have to evaluate the coaching staff. We have to give the coaches some time, and we have to get ready to go to the Senior Bowl. ... Hopefully there will be some type of indication of our status sooner rather than later. Earlier in the week would certainly be a lot better than late in the week. So we'll see."

Unhappy Camper
Cornerback Ralph Brown was frustrated after giving up two touchdown passes in Sunday's loss to Baltimore and being benched as the dime back. "I know how (coach Mike) Tice is," Brown said. "He's never really happy with guys. He changes guys in and out if they get beat. I was upset I gave that up, but I'm still a smart player. I do my job. This is the only game where I didn't do my job; I made mistakes. I don't feel I should have come out, but I'm not the head coach."

  • With the Vikings eliminated from playoff contention, center Cory Withrow was one of the few players who talked during the open locker room session Monday.

    "It's frustrating," he said. "Coming in today and see all the guys that are hurting and stuff like that. But I think the one thing that we do do around here is we stick together. We're going to bounce back and finish this thing out right. That's the plan."

  • Injured linebacker Keith Newman on why so few players talked Monday:

    "Some guys would maybe rather not say something instead of saying something that they might possibly come to regret later on."

  • In addition to Brown being benched as the dime back in favor of rookie Dovonte Edwards, linebacker Dontarrious Thomas also lost his role on passing downs to Rod Davis briefly Sunday. Thomas, unlike Brown, returned to the game.

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