Minutes after the conclusion of the Vikings win over the Bears, the team released a short press release confirming that head coach Mike Tice's contract will not be renewed.
In the moments following the Vikings' win over the Bears, the team released the following statement headlined "Vikings Will Not Renew Coach Tice's Contract":
"In a meeting with Vikings owner Zygi Wilf and Vikings President Mark Wilf on Sunday, head coach Mike Tice was informed that the team would not renew his contract beyond the 2005 season. ‘After significant evaluation, we feel now is the time to make a coaching change,' said Zygi Wilf."
Tice declined to comment on his status with the team following the game at his regular post-game press conference, which lasted less than six minutes. Wilf will address the media Monday at a noon press conference at Winter Park.
Tice did speak with the media after taking some time to compose himself and remained extremely professional, thanking Zygi Wilf for giving him a chance to finish the season and Red McCombs for giving him a chance to be the head coach despite never being a coordinator in the NFL.
Tice was informed of the decision by Zygi Wilf immediately after his regular press conference, when reporters weren't allowed to enter the door to the locker room they usually use. He said Wilf wanted to go in another direction. Tice called his wife, Diane, after receiving the news so she wouldn't find out from someone who was handed the press release.
Among Tice's comments after being informed:
"It's a shame that I'm not going to be able to work for the Wilfs. I think they're going to be great owners, I really do. I think as they learn to be NFL owners, they'll be top-notch owners."
"I'm hurt. I'm a man. I'm not a machine. I've put a lot of time into this organization. I've been here since 1992 (as a player or coach) except for 1994. I've had some good times, a lot of good times, and I've had some bad times."
"I'm thankful to the fans. I was very pleased that the fans didn't hold up any 'Fire Tice' signs out there today. It was one of my worries. I'm thankful that they stood up and cheered."
"I didn't get a chance to savor the victory very long, but I'm the one that's been saying, 'Sooner than later,' so I guess (Zygi) took that as 'As Soon As Possible.'"
"I was prepared for it all week. I just didn't feel the vibes were good."
"I think Minnesota is very lucky to have the Wilf family as their owners. ... Hopefully everybody will get behind him and build a new stadium, because we need a new stadium."
"Like I told Zygi, I wish I could have made it tough on you and won out and gone to the Super Bowl and stuck out my tongue at you, but I wasn't able to do that."
"When we were 2-5 and there were rumors flying around that Zygi was going to fire me, I went to him and asked him, let me finish the season. He gave me his word he would and he did. I can't thank him enough for that."