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Tice to stay as Vikings coach
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Head coach Mike Tice says he wouldn't have changed anything about his game plan Sunday. (MPR Photo/Brandt Williams)
Vikings owner Red McCombs said on Tuesday that coach Mike Tice will keep his job. The Vikings coaches, players and fans are still feeling the sting of a disappointing loss to the Arizona Cardinals Sunday. A desperation touchdown pass by the Cardinals as time expired kept the Vikings from getting the division title and knocked them out of the playoff picture.

Eden Prairie, Minn. — McCombs made his decision known during a conference call on Tuesday with reporters gathered at the team's Eden Prairie facility.

McCombs said that he never had any thoughts of replacing Tice, any members of his staff or anyone in the front office. A lot of well-paid television sports analysts and coaches will be dissecting this year's Vikings season. The team started 6-0, and they led the division for nearly all 17 weeks, until Cardinals receiver Nathan Poole pulled in a prayer of a pass at the moment the season ended. However, if you want to know what really went wrong this season and with the season's final game, there are plenty of fans who know what the pros know.

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Image Time to empty out the lockers and go home

"They play down to the caliber of the teams that are really bad and that's not the mark of a good team," said one fan on the streets of St. Paul on Monday. "They got the talent but they don't go out to play hard enough to win; fourth and one and they didn't go for the field goal, there's three points right there," said another.

Head coach Mike Tice says he wouldn't have changed anything about his game plan Sunday; not even the ill-fated fourth-and-goal gamble for a touchdown, instead of going for an easy three points early in the first quarter. The Vikings lost the game by one point.

Tice is in his second full year as coach of the Vikings. He took over a floundering team and went from a 6-and-10 record last year to a 9-and-7 mark this year.

Tice said on Monday that he was concerned about his future with the team. He said, though, in professional football the bottom line is: you've got to win.

"If I haven't won enough games in enough amount of time then that's the way it goes. But I'm going to certainly move on like this is the football team that I'm coaching, and stay on task," Tice said Monday.

Tice is known as a player's coach. And many of his players supported his return next year. Matt Birk, an all-pro center, says the team has a lot of things to work on next year. However, Birk says no one person can take blame for the teams problems.

"We succeed and we share in the share in the success and the accolades. And when we lose, we're all accountable and take blame, and you look at yourself to see what you can do better. It's on everybody," according to Birk. Tice says he understands the disappointment felt by the fans and he says he feels worse than they do. However, for lifelong fans like Chevy Shervey, this loss was hard to bear.

"Ah, gosh. I get so emotional when I talk about them now. I can't believe that they screwed it up. They were that close and you just come to expect it now," he said.

Shervey is working behind the register of a downtown St. Paul hair salon. He says he's a life-long fan and has suffered through many big Viking losses. Shervey says this loss is a lot like the 1998 NFC championship game where the Vikings missed the Super Bowl after losing at home to the underdog Atlanta Falcons. He says he'll try not to think of the Vikings until next year.

"We'll wait for next season. Thank God for Arena Football. Maybe we could get a team here in Minnesota, we could start watching them at the Xcel. A little bit more exciting I'm sure," he said.

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