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  1. #1
    XTAP59's Avatar
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    Vikies coaches lowest paid

    Vikings coaches work cheaply

    BY SEAN JENSEN, Pioneer Press

    As executive director of the NFL Coaches Association, Larry Kennan is an automatic advocate for the league's 500-plus coaches.


    But he fumes when he hears NFL analysts condemn the Vikings' coaching staff.



    "It bothers me when I hear criticism of most staffs," said Kennan, a longtime NFL assistant coach. "But in my mind and in the mind of a lot of NFL people who know personnel, the Vikings have done an outstanding job of coaching. In my view, I think they've done a remarkable job to do as well as they have, and it's a shame they're not being rewarded financially for that."


    Not only is Mike Tice the NFL's lowest-paid head coach, his coaching staff is last in total compensation. According to a 2004 annual salary survey conducted by the NFL Coaches Association, the Vikings' assistant coaching budget was $2,852,800, roughly $800,000 below the league median and about $2.2 million below the highest-paid staff, that of Sunday's opponent, the Washington Redskins.


    The Vikings' staff also is in the bottom third of total coaches, with both coordinators doubling as position coaches.


    Vikings owner Red McCombs and President Gary Woods could not be reached for comment Thursday or Friday because of the holiday, and Tice declined comment, but the information provided by the NFL Coaches Association raises questions about the team's future.


    With the exception of offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, the coaching staff is locked up through the 2005 season. In fact, nearly all members of the team's player personnel and football administration, as well as vice president of football operations Rob Brzezinski, have contracts that expire after the 2005 season, which is no coincidence.


    Because the Vikings are among the worst revenue generators, largely because they play in an outdated stadium, McCombs has resisted spending more than is absolutely necessary. In November 2003, McCombs told the Pioneer Press he refuses to "subsidize the Vikings football program."


    Brzezinski declined to address the assistant coaching budget but did talk about the Vikings' financial position.


    "We've said it 1,000 times. Our organization has significant revenue challenges, which puts us at a competitive disadvantage," he said. "But Red has always stepped up and given us anything we've asked for, both from a player standpoint and tools to do our job. With our situation, we don't have any room for error, and Red always wants us to make sure we're making well thought-out decisions."


    That means the Vikings must do more with less. Their scouting and coaching staffs are both among the NFL's smallest, and the only department perceived to have extra bodies is sales and marketing.


    The coaching staff reflects McCombs' hiring philosophy: find and develop stars. When McCombs owned the San Antonio Spurs, he famously dumped the proven Jerry Tarkanian 20 games into a three-year contract and replaced him with the inexperienced John Lucas.


    Although Viking fans criticize him for his frugality, McCombs showed no reservations about spending when he owned the Spurs and Denver Nuggets. When he bought the Spurs in 1988, McCombs immediately bumped the number of assistant coaches from one to four and nearly doubled the size of his front office, from 14 to 27. Later, he paid top dollar to lure coach Larry Brown, who had just led Kansas to an NCAA championship.


    But with no prospects of a new stadium, many believe McCombs is trying to make his Viking assets as liquid as possible in the event a buyer surfaces. Regardless, barring a Super Bowl run this season, the Vikings are bracing for a critical 2005. With their core players secured and the expected return of tight end Jim Kleinsasser, cornerback Ken Irvin and right tackle Mike Rosenthal, the Vikings should be among the NFC favorites with a solid draft and dip into free agency.


    And if the team thrives next season, whoever owns the Vikings no longer will get a discount on key staff members. Two teams have pursued Brzezinski in the past, and others likely would jump into the fray for Tice and other assistants and scouts.


    If the Vikings struggle, though, whoever owns the team could gut the offices at Winter Park and build on the team's strong nucleus of young players.


    For now, the only offseason coaching position that must be addressed is that of Linehan, who on Tuesday said he was inclined to remain in his current position because McCombs exercised the $1 million option on Tice. Linehan's salary is unknown, but he is believed to be making less than the estimated $466,000 average for an NFL offensive coordinator.


    But Kennan said coaching salaries continue to increase, and that he would like the tail end — meaning the Vikings — to boost the average.


    In 1999, assistant coaches averaged $130,000. That figure nearly has doubled, with more than 15 coordinators making at least $1 million. Tampa Bay defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin is believed to be the NFL's top-paid assistant, making $1.7 million.


    If the Vikings make the playoffs, theirs will be one of two assistant coaching staffs in the postseason that don't rank in the upper half of total compensation. The Indianapolis Colts — another of the league's lowest revenue producers — are just above the Vikings with a budget of $3,114,000.


    "If they make the playoffs," Kennan said of the Vikings, "it would be a heck of an accomplishment."


    Sean Jensen covers the Vikings and the NFL. He can be reached at [email protected]

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  2. #2
    dan3ski's Avatar
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    Vikies coaches lowest paid

    All I can say is you get what you pay for! Enough said.
    can we clone Bud Grant?

  3. #3
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    Vikies coaches lowest paid

    Vikings' staff may be the lowest paid, but when you think about it, they're making way more than most of us on this board...they're not "starvin' like Marvin, guuurl." This reminds of one of the NBA's (national basketball association) players: Terrell Spreewell. He complained in 2004 that he wanted a bigger contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves. He was already bringing home more than 9 million a season, and complained that he wasn't getting paid enough. "I got family to feed." What? How many folks he feeding? What grocery store is he shopping at? Certainly not Jewel-Osco, Pick -n- Save, or Sentry. Since when was millions of dollars a year not enough to feed a family?
    BonoSugaRay IS Betamethasone Dunkin

  4. #4
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    Vikies coaches lowest paid

    They're way under payed, and that'd be Latrell not Terrell...

  5. #5
    bono's Avatar
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    Vikies coaches lowest paid

    oops! sorry. You're right. what was i thinking? Spreewell's was born and raised right here in Milwaukee, WI. [shame on you, Bono :bootyshake: ]
    BonoSugaRay IS Betamethasone Dunkin

  6. #6
    muchluv4smoot's Avatar
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    Vikies coaches lowest paid

    Well, when your team continues to underacheive and be average, your coaches deserve to be paid nothing. If they could prove they are actually capable of coaching a good team, then maybe they would get some money.

  7. #7
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    Vikies coaches lowest paid

    I cannot really take a position on this. Mainly, we have underacheived. And , I do not know the resumes of the coaching staff either. Now, if we won our divsion last year and this, I doubt they would be paid the lowest.

  8. #8
    muchluv4smoot's Avatar
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    Vikies coaches lowest paid

    "ultravikingfan" wrote:
    I cannot really take a position on this. Mainly, we have underacheived. And , I do not know the resumes of the coaching staff either. Now, if we won our divsion last year and this, I doubt they would be paid the lowest.

    Agreed. If we would have won, Tice and other would have gotten new deals. But since we have underacheived, they have gooten what they deserve.

  9. #9
    XTAP59's Avatar
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    Vikies coaches lowest paid

    "muchluv4moss" wrote:
    "ultravikingfan" wrote:
    I cannot really take a position on this. Mainly, we have underacheived. And , I do not know the resumes of the coaching staff either. Now, if we won our divsion last year and this, I doubt they would be paid the lowest.

    Agreed. If we would have won, Tice and other would have gotten new deals. But since we have underacheived, they have gooten what they deserve.
    I don't think so. I think Red will want to keep the coaches salary low and flexible so the new potential owner when he fires Tice and company won't be strapped with a big number.
    And face it, if the Vikings get sold, we will have a new coach.

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