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Vikings fire head coach Mike Tice

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Mike Tice waves to the crowd at the Metrodome after the Minnesota Vikings beat the Chicago Bears Sunday afternoon. Shortly afterward, Tice was fired by owner Zygi Wilf. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Minneapolis, Minn. — (AP) - The Minnesota Vikings fired coach Mike Tice after Sunday's victory over Chicago.

Owner Zygi Wilf announced he would not renew Tice's contract in a statement less than an hour after the Vikings' 34-10 win over the Bears in the regular season finale. Tice, who finished his fourth full season with a 32-32 overall record, had already addressed the media before the move was made public. The announcement came via press release after most players had left the Metrodome.

"I don't know who was more shaken by it, him or me," Tice said of what he called an emotional meeting with Wilf.

The timing of the move and the means by which it was delivered stunned the few players still at the Dome.

"It's the owner's decision," said quarterback Brad Johnson, as he left the stadium with his family. "It's a tough business, and I appreciate Mike and the way he treated me and the way he treated the team. I wish him greatness."

Tice's tenure was mostly marked by streaks and scandals, with a $100,000 fine levied last summer against him by the league for scalping his Super Bowl tickets, and a wild boat party during the team's bye week this season that produced misdemeanor charges against four players.

After starting 2-5, the Vikings won six straight before losing two in a row to fall out of contention for the playoffs.

"After significant evaluation, we feel that now is the time to make a coaching change," Wilf said in the statement.

After significant evaluation, we feel that now is the time to make a coaching change.
- Vikings owner Zygi Wilf

The owner was gone when the statement was issued to media in the locker room and he scheduled a news conference for Monday.

Pro Bowl kick returner Koren Robinson had to compose himself before commenting, managing a "Whoa, that's crazy," while he read the statement at his locker.

"In the locker room? Right after a game you just won?" Robinson said. "Give the man respect enough to wait until Monday to enjoy the win, at least."

Pro Bowl safety Darren Sharper crumpled up the release and threw it on the floor before declining comment and running back Mewelde Moore also tersely declined to comment.

Wilf said previously that Tice's job status would be discussed at the team's headquarters on Monday, but shortly before 7 p.m. CDT, the release was issued.

When asked about his mind-set after Minnesota's 34-10 victory over the Bears, Tice said the situation weighed on him as he contemplated 13 years with the organization. He progressed from a tight end in 1992 to offensive line coach to head coach.

"Of course it did, I'm a human being, a man," Tice said. "I've been here since '92 ... I've poured a lot of energy into this program."

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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