Tice Named Head Coach; Information Flows

Mike Tice was named head coach of the Vikings today, and he loaded reporters' notebooks, tape recorders and cameras with information on his plans for change.

Mike Tice has usually been up front. He continued his ways today, as he was officially introduced as the new head coach of the Vikings. Information and humor was in large supply during and after his press conference.

Among the many changes in store:

* Gary Zauner was released as the special teams coach.

* Willie Shaw was been asked, but not yet accepted, the defensive coordinator position.

* Tice has a short list of offensive coordinators who are currently with clubs and either under contract or in the playoffs.

* The remaining coaches' duties will see some shuffling. Namely, Brian Baker will move from defensive line to linebackers coach, Willie Shaw, if he accepts the coordinator position, will still help with the secondary. Dean Dalton will move from assistant offensive line to running backs, Alex Wood will remain quarterbacks coach.

* Tice's priority is to chart the ratio of plays that Randy Moss has gotten the ball in successful games and commit to that ratio. He thought that might mean going to Moss every four or five plays, and he said more motion would be used to free up the Super Freak.

* He also said the coaches would begin identifying how Michael Bennett was so explosive at Wisconsin and attempt to use similar plays with the Vikings.

* While he praised Daunte Culpepper's athletic ability, he said Alex Wood's biggest assignment as Culpepper's coach will be to get Culpepper to be a student of the game and watch much more film. The quarterback should know the game plan as well as the coach, said Tice, who was a former quarterback at Maryland.

* Jim Kleinsasser will be moved to tight end, and could be used an H-back on occasion. According to others, Kleinsasser is a better blocker with a man right in front of him rather than in "iso" situations.

* He thought the Cris Carter era in Minnesota would depend on money.

* He wouldn't say this team is in a rebuilding phase, citing Chicago this year and saying, "You're only one or two players away from changing things and turning them around."

* After a generally tense atmosphere at Winter Park in recent years, Tice is encouraging everyone in the organization to "think freely."

* Tice also said: "This season was no fun for me. I want to have fun again. … Everybody should be smiling."

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