Is There A Lack Of Support?

While Mike Tice and the Vikings continue to secure their spot atop the NFC North division, it sounds like there is a lack of support from the top — at least that is the sense behind the scenes.

As the Vikings fight to maintain an upper hand in the NFC North division, some indecision and a perceived lack of support has surfaced in the Minnesota front office. Strikingly underpaid in the coaching ranks, Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Tice has yet to receive the full confidence of owner Red McCombs.

In taking over a team void of talent at numerous positions carrying over from the Dennis Green regime in Minnesota, Tice has led the resurgent Vikings back to respectability in only his second season at the helm.

For Tice, the task of winning on the field may be easier than receiving the acknowledgement and contract extension deserved for a coach who ranks near the bottom of the league's head coaching pay scale. While reported salary numbers for Tice can be misleading, it is easy to state he makes far less than $1 million a season, a travesty by league standards of this day. Tice is far from seeing any love from McCombs.

"Right now, (Red) McCombs has been fairly supportive of the job done by the front office and Mike (Tice). It's an understatement to say he (Mike Tice) has done a good job and will only get better as he gains experience as a head coach in this league," a team source said. "McCombs really can be a difficult man to work for. His expectations are very high and he can be extremely demanding and blunt about his beliefs. Especially at a time such as this, where we have struggled, he can become a distraction."

"McCombs hasn't helped matters by not voicing his support of Tice, his front office and this team. In essence, McCombs' statement of support for this 2003 team only came after he criticized the team following our first loss this season."

With one season remaining on an original three-year contract signed by Tice, McCombs is not in a position where he has to make a rash decision on Tice's fate. Due to the recent losing skid the Vikings encountered, McCombs has a tailor-made excuse to continue evaluating his front office and team personnel. Granted, this Vikings team was not as good as the 6-0 start to the season, but they are better than the mediocre and below-average teams of the past few seasons.

With McCombs, there likely will not be a sign of commitment to the front office, much less to Tice alone. This is a man who still to this day is considering moving the team from the Twin Cities, if the league would support a move.

That in itself is a story for another day, just as Mike Tice will coach on for another day and possibly for another season while McCombs continues to search for the dollar as this Vikings team progresses.

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