Tice: Not ‘That Far Off'

While some think Vikings owner Red McCombs was only two weeks premature in calling a loss humiliating, head coach Mike Tice is saying he doesn't think the defense is too far away from recovering.

Vikings coach Mike Tice apologized for being late to his Monday press conference, and then explained why.

"I was over at Target," Tice said. "I had heard a rumor that they had these magic wands over there. I was going to go buy one, but I got there and found out it wasn't true, so I'm a little bit late."

In other words, it won't be easy climbing out of a three-game losing streak in which the opposition is averaging 453 yards and 33.7 points per game.

Here's the good news, according to Tice: Still in first place in the NFC North, the work ethic in practice is excellent, the special teams are improving and the defense isn't "that far off" from playing effectively.

Even he admitted that last one sounds off base.

"Some of you are looking at me like I'm nuts," Tice said. "But I try to call it the way I see it."

Now the bad news, according to Tice: Nothing the team is doing in practice is carrying over to the field, and the team isn't doing enough "in certain areas" (read: defense) to keep us in first place.

"We've got to find a way to get that swagger back, that confidence back on defense," Tice said. "And we will."

Tice said wholesale changes in personnel aren't the answer.

"We've just got to play the defense the way it's designed to be played," Tice said.

Cornerback Ken Irvin sounded more desperate: "We're just stunned. And it's not because we lost. We're stunned because it seems like we can't correct what we know we need to correct," Irvin said.

  • S Jack Brewer, the special teams captain, sprained his right shoulder on kickoff coverage Sunday. He had an MRI Monday morning. He was scheduled for a second evaluation Monday, and might have to have season-ending surgery.
    --LT Bryant McKinnie played despite a sprained left ankle. The injury affected him, but it didn't any worse.
  • LB Raonall Smith was inactive because of a hamstring injury. He should be able to play next week against Oakland.
  • KR-WR Nick Davis, who hasn't played all season because of a shoulder injury, might play against Oakland.
  • LB Chris Claiborne had an ice bag taped to his left knee. He said the knee was swollen.

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