McCombs Will Keep Tice

Vikings owner Red McCombs shot down rumors that Mike Tice's job was ever in jeopardy, giving him a vote of confidence … at least for one more year.

Vikings owner Red McCombs said he didn't know where the media was getting it that Mike Tice's job was in jeopardy. Yet the head coach said yesterday he was concerned for his job, and Tice never received a vote of confidence from McCombs until today.

"There was no doubt in my mind the Vikings would be playing in the playoffs," McCombs said. "Obviously, a lot of gears had to shift Sunday night and yesterday."

"I have had no thought of making any staff changes," he added. "I think Tice and his staff have done a good job in the two years they've been here."

The owner said he wasn't aware of any changes that Tice may have planned for his own staff — barring hiring a new defensive coordinator/defensive line coach — but he also said he would let Tice make those decisions, then added: "We will always be making changes. Generally I like changes as the plan is unfolding" as opposed to reacting when it might be too late.

Tice and McCombs will go through their annual staff and player evaluations in the coming weeks. McCombs' reaction to the season was that the "symptoms showed themselves with the seventh game of the season, with the Giants." He called that loss "humiliating" in locker room after the game despite Tice leading the team to a 6-1 record at that point.

* On the status of several front office execs whose contracts expire, McCombs said he sees no reason to make any changes. Several front office types were in attendance at Tuesday's conference call with McCombs, and some even joked they were wondering what their status was. Rest fairly assured, fellas — at least now it's on the record.
* On the salary cap, McCombs said, "We don't set limits on how much we can spend or how much we can't spend. We may be under the salary cap (next year), we may be over the salary cap." There were strong indications that McCombs did limit the spending this year.
* McCombs on Tice going for a touchdown on fourth down at the 1-yard line on the Vikings' first drive Sunday: "I would have been upset myself if Mike would have gone for the field goal." He said he wanted to see the Vikings carry through the momentum from that drive and put seven points on the scoreboard.
* McCombs put no timeline in his decision for where training camp will be held next year. All indications are that Mankato is the frontrunner to retain the summer event.
* David Dixon is expected to be back next year and compete for the job at right guard.
* The Vikings have the 19th pick in the 2004 NFL Draft. will be starting its free-agent and draft coverage in earnest in the coming week, kicking off intense offseason coverage.

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