The Vikings Need a Coach.

By Jerold A. Wells Jr.
Updated: April 9, 2005

“The leader who exercises power with honor will work from the inside out, starting with himself.” -Blaine Lee, “The Power Principle” MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA—If there are readers who find the above quote to have any merit then perhaps they would agree with me my assertion that Mike Tice must be fired as head coach of the (MY!!) Minnesota Vikings. In light of the recent ticket scalping fiasco, I would like to submit a paperless petition to all Vikings fans requesting the resignation of our always opinionated but now accountability-lacking head coach. Aside from a number of questionable personnel moves, play-calling decisions, and being an overall abrasive personality, Mike Tice is a great coach. Let us start with the facts. Selling league allocated tickets to others for profit is illegal.

After denying taking part in any scalping activity, Coach Tice eventually confessed to wrongdoing and is now awaiting disciplinary action from League Commissioner Paul Tagliabue. For the purpose of comparison, consider a few other incidents. Last year starting defensive end Kenny Mixon was involved in a drunken driving incident. After being sufficiently reprimanded the league, Mixon missed the first four games of the regular season. An interesting fact to remember is that, as a defensive starter, Mixon had the full moral support of coach Tice during his whole ordeal. Secondly, before the start of the season last year, MLB E.J. Henderson, former TE Steve Farmer and LB Mike Nattiel were involved in a fight outside of a Minneapolis nightclub. Henderson and Nattiel would emerge as major contributors and therefore only received the standard tough talk from coach Tice about how they should be more responsible and carry themselves with dignity and self-respect. Farmer on the other hand, was competing for the 4th or 5th tight end position and was released shortly after word of the assault reached the newswire.

If these incidents were not enough then consider the case of Kelly Campbell. Campbell is the 4th receiver for the Vikings and during the first half of the season last year Campbell received an unsportsmanlike penalty for running onto the field to celebrate with QB Daunte Culpepper after a touchdown pass. During his post game interview and again during the week, Coach Tice actually encouraged the league to fine the heck out of Campbell. Are you serious? This is a so-called player’s coach completely polarizing one of his players, and actually asking the league to fine him. Now mull over Tice’s handling of former franchise player Randy Moss; no serious comments on the walking off the field incident, no stern comment on the mooning incident, nothing at all. Why is it that Tice never took the hard line with Moss as he did with other lesser players and demanded that leading the team would include more than putting up big numbers? Instead of reprimanding Moss, Tice let Matt Birk tell him that walking off the field was the wrong thing to do. The team will do well without Moss next year and they will do even better if Mike Tice is not the head coach.

“A real leader faces the music, even when he doesn’t like the tune.”


Under Mike Tice’s watch, the Vikings (and their longsuffering fans) have moved from disappointment to disappointment. The Vikings overall record during Tice’s four-year tenure is 23-26. If the Vikings are smart, they will continue with the team makeover premise that was set in motion with the trade of Randy Moss and part ways with the team’s real cancer, Mike Tice. As a head coach Mike Tice has not exhibited the ability to maximize the ability of many of his players (Chris Hovan, Michael Bennett, etc.), develop an offensive identity, and be a true leader of the team. By true leader I mean a person possessing the ability to appropriately distribute praise as well as criticism and letting all issues pertinent to the team begin and end with him. I do not see that quality in Tice. Most importantly, Mike Tice lacks any kind of credibility as a leader. How will he be able to tell players to carry themselves with dignity and respect after he did not? How will he be able to instruct them and encourage them to have integrity when he did not? He cannot and therefore he is not credible as a leader. Without credibility you cannot be a head coach in the National Football League. Period.