Wilf, Tice Discuss Future

Vikings owner Zygi Wilf talked in general terms about his plans for replacing Mike Tice.

A day after firing Mike Tice as the Vikings' head coach, owner Zygi Wilf addressed his plans for the future of a franchise that is looking to hire both a personnel executive and head coach.

"We have accelerated our search for a seasoned football executive and immediately initiated a process to select the very best head coach to secure a strong future for Vikings football," Wilf said in a news conference at the Vikings' Winter Park facility in Eden Prairie, Minn. "We will do this within the NFL guidelines."

The Vikings were believed to have asked permission to speak with Eagles vice president of player personnel Tom Heckert Jr. in their search to find an executive to deal with all personnel matters, but Heckert was promoted to general manager of the Eagles Monday. In essence, that person will be a general manager but will not get the title.

Whoever gets that position will work with Rob Brzezinski, who signed a three-year contract Saturday that will keep him in place as the vice president of football operations. Brzezinski will continue to deal with all salary-cap issues.

Wilf said there is a strong possibility the personnel hire will be made before the coach is named, meaning the executive could have a say in the coaching search. Wilf said decisions on the hires are being made by himself, team president Mark Wilf (his brother), Brzezinski and "a few executives we have on board that we are in touch with."

As for the head coach, Wilf would not confirm that Vikings defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell would be interviewed but came close. "I will not comment on individual candidates," he said. "But yes, we are considering individuals in our organization and as well as individuals outside the organization."

Wilf was vague when asked what he was looking for in a coach. "We are looking for the best potential candidate that can get us to what we want," he said.

Tice, meanwhile, addressed the media for a final time at Winter Park but did not take questions. "I really appreciate the players and coaches this year for sticking together," he said, a day after the Vikings beat the Chicago Bears to finish 9-7.


  • Owner Zygi Wilf took some criticism for deciding to tell Mike Tice he had been fired after most of the players and coaches had left the locker room Sunday. This meant many learned about it through the media. "There have been questions and comments about how and when we decided to inform Mike of our decision," Wilf said. "Let me address that issue briefly. First, there is no easy way or good time to let someone know that their contract will not be renewed. We have great respect for Mike, and once a final decision was made, we didn't want him to twist in the wind another night. But the bottom line is, it was a tough decision and a difficult thing to do. We informed Mike as soon as we could, which is also something he requested."

  • Coach Mike Tice on his hopes to be considered for a coaching job elsewhere in the NFL: "I think this year that I proved that I worked hard for four years to earn my stripes and hopefully there will be other organizations around the league that will see it that way. I love to teach."

  • Vikings assistant coaches were not terminated immediately and will spend the rest of the week doing evaluations. Their contracts expire at the end of this month; Wilf has offered to fly them down to the Senior Bowl so they can interview for jobs.

  • Vikings athletic trainer Chuck Barta recently visited with Daunte Culpepper in Orlando, Fla., where the quarterback is rehabbing his surgically repaired right knee. Culpepper, who tore the anterior cruciate, medial collateral and posterior cruciate ligaments in the knee on Oct. 30 in Carolina, is hoping to be ready by training camp.

    "He's continuing to progress right on schedule with things," Barta said. "He's gotten past a couple of hurdles, but it's not around the corner yet. It's going to continue to be kind of week by week and see where he's at. But he's doing well."

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