Tice Overshadows Signings

On a day where Vikings fans could have breathed a sigh of relief with a pair of free-agent signings, allegations that threaten coach Mike Tice stole away the headlines.

Just as fans were shaking their heads and smiling to themselves about the team signing a pair of free agents, the Vikings were thrown into controversy once again -- this time with head coach Mike Tice.

Former Vikings beat writer Don Banks and another writer at the Sports Illustrated website broke a story that alleges Tice has orchestrated buying Super Bowl tickets at well over face value -- even after taking over as the team's head coach.

While players and coaches have to sign a release that they won't re-sell tickets, it has been a relatively common practice and, prior to becoming head coach, Tice was the man to see in that department for the Vikings, according to the story. He has vehemently denied any wrongdoing since becoming head coach and VU has been told he offered to let the league give him a lie detector test.

The whistle blower who was the source of the story alleged that Tice paid $1,900 for $600 tickets and, after delivering the tickets earlier this year, returned from Chicago with $250,000 in cash.

Tice will likely be forced to comment at this morning's press conference that will introduce Fred Smoot as the newest Viking -- a press conference set for 11 a.m. local time.

The amended numbers on the Smoot deal call for a total package of $34 million over six years, with $10.8 million in the form of a signing bonus. The Vikings also re-signed Jermaine Wiggins to a five-year, $7.3 million deal with a $1 million signing bonus.

There is no word yet if the Vikings will try to be creative with the bonus money as they did last year when Antoine Winfield's contract included a roster bonus instead of a signing bonus -- which came off the books after last season.

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