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  1. #1
    singersp's Avatar
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    Vikings need all help they can get

    There are people suggesting that Mike Tice confirmed his inadequacy to coach the Vikings with this week's decision to bring in Jerry Rhome and Foge Fazio in the hope they can provide flotsam for this sinking ship.

    Rhome and Fazio were in retirement after long coaching tenures. The last time they were mentioned in unison with the Vikings was on Jan. 17, 1995, when Rhome was leaving to become the offensive coordinator for the Houston Oilers and Fazio was arriving as the linebackers coach.

    Rhome stayed here one season as the receivers coach, and his work received rave reviews from an emerging star named Cris Carter. Fazio lasted five years with coach Dennis Green, including the last four (1996-99) as defensive coordinator.

    There are numerous reasons to endorse the idea that Tice is overmatched. The least of these would be that he has brought in the much respected Rhome to help handle this floundering offense.

    The benefit of bringing in Fazio is less clear, what with veteran coordinator Ted Cottrell in charge of the defense, but what the heck? Foge is a good guy, and maybe he can bring a few much needed laughs to Winter Park with his occasional visits.

    If Tice was going to establish himself as a successful NFL coach, it would have been as a motivator of players and by leaning on astute assistants.

    This opportunity came to Tice because owner Red McCombs was too cheap to pay market value for an experienced head coach -- not while paying off the final two years of the fired Green's contract.

    The worst part of this for Tice was not the miserly salary he was receiving as coach but McCombs also cutting the budget for assistants.

    With this restriction, Tice was the guy who found and hired Scott Linehan, the offensive coordinator at the University of Louisville and an unknown in NFL circles.

    Linehan had the Randy Moss advantage during his three seasons on the job, but you could see immediately he was a creative coach with a big future. The excuse for allowing Linehan to leave for Miami was the head coach's status.

    Tice had only 2005 left on his contract, so Linehan went elsewhere in the search for security. In truth, Red could have given Linehan a multi-year contract for sizable dollars, with the knowledge that any future head coach hired by the Vikings would be pleased to inherit a dynamic offensive coordinator.

    Tice also had George O'Leary, his former high school coach, for trusted advice in 2002 and 2003. There were some disagreements in that second season, when Tice wanted rookie E.J. Henderson on the field at middle linebacker, and O'Leary preferred Greg Biekert -- slow, worn down, but a veteran capable of getting the defense lined up properly.

    Considering Henderson's woes in the middle of last season, O'Leary obviously knew what he was doing. He left for Central Florida after 2003, an indication both of O'Leary's desire to be a head coach again, and of McCombs' unwillingness to pay to keep good coaching help.

    Tice might be fortunate that neither O'Leary nor Linehan still is around. If so, new owner Zygi Wilf would have had viable candidates on the staff to replace Tice during this two-week break between the visits to Atlanta and Chicago.

    Then again, if Linehan still were running the offense, the Vikings probably would have pulled out that opener against Tampa Bay in the Dome. That would put the Vikings at 2-2, on top of the horrible NFC North, and the feeling Tice had to go would not be as unanimous among the Purple faithful as is currently the case.

    McCombs wasn't sure he was going to complete the sale of this team last winter, when Tice needed a replacement for Linehan. That meant Red was unwilling to make any guarantee (one year, with hefty severance if Tice was fired) that would allow the Vikings to bring in an experienced coordinator to deal with the challenge of a Moss-less offense.

    Steve Loney was a qualified line coach handed the impossible task of becoming an NFL coordinator on the fly. By the season's second game, Tice found the need -- justified or not -- to try to mentor Loney in the passing game.

    That's the last word that comes to mind when you observe Tice as a coach: mentor.

    He's an erratic leader, subject to changing the approach to what he thinks his team needs on an hour's notice. He needs the mentoring, not vice versa.

    Rhome, 63, can provide that to Tice, to Loney, to Daunte Culpepper and to this troubled offense. The question now is if this is a firm commitment to tapping into Rhome's knowledge for the rest of this not-yet-lost season, or is it this week's Tice whim?

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  2. #2
    singersp's Avatar
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    Re: Vikings need all help they can get

    Vikings: Consultant may take over as offensive coordinator
    Kevin Seifert, Star Tribune
    October 7, 2005 VIKE1007


    One young Vikings player -- who shall remain nameless -- was asked Thursday if he has heard much about Jerry Rhome.

    "Oh, sure," the player said. "He's the guy from ESPN, that show 'Rome is Burning.' Right?"

    Uh, no.

    Soon enough, every Viking will know the difference between TV/radio personality Jim Rome and longtime NFL coach Jerry Rhome. Assuming owner Zygi Wilf signs off on the proposal, Rhome is expected to take over next week as the Vikings' de facto offensive coordinator.

    Steve Loney would retain that title, but his focus would shift primarily to the offensive line, leaving play-calling duties and some game-planning responsibilities to Rhome. The role is much broader than the consultant-level position that Rhome and Foge Fazio accepted earlier this week, but coach Mike Tice acknowledged that Loney's two-job workload has grown impractical.

    Lost from the start?Jeff WheelerStar Tribune"We're all human," Tice said. "After a while, it's too much. And I think Steve was handling a lot of the [offensive] workload. A lot. And doing a solid job, I really think."

    Tice said he considered hiring an offensive line coach, allowing Loney to work full time as a coordinator. But, Tice said, Loney "wants to square the line away himself. He doesn't want somebody coming in and squaring away his line."

    Rhome, 63, observed the Vikings' two-hour practice Thursday and was planning to spend the night watching film at Winter Park. He is scheduled to meet with Wilf today to work through several issues related to his pension and then sign a one-year contract.

    Rhome said he's open to returning to the Vikings, where he was the receivers coach in 1994. He coached Tice in Seattle in 1981 and said: "My friendship with Mike is enough that I came up here for a couple days to work with him for fun. Whatever happens after that will happen. We'll see."

    Rhome was Loney's boss in 1993 when they worked on the Phoenix Cardinals staff; Rhome was the offensive coordinator and Loney an assistant offensive line coach. During the Vikings' flight home Sunday from Atlanta, Loney suggested that Tice call Rhome, who last worked for Atlanta in 2001. Tice said he is not concerned about the delicate and rare instance of adding a new coach in midseason -- "Steve is a team guy," Tice said -- and said he hopes the new arrangement will begin at "8 a.m. Monday morning."

    Loney said that any discussion of next week's arrangement "is speculative" but appeared eager to add Rhome's experience to the staff.

    While Rhome is expected to be a daily presence at Winter Park, Fazio's role will be more limited. He provided what Tice called a "thorough" report on the team's defensive schemes and -- pending his own meeting with Wilf -- Fazio likely will spend three or four days a week with the defensive coaches, including game day.

    "I think we have a good chance of getting on track very quickly here," said Fazio, the Vikings' defensive coordinator from 1995 to 1999. Their current coordinator, Ted Cottrell, said he considers Fazio "another set of eyes.

    "If you have the opportunity to get that during the season," Cottrell added, "it's a pretty good thing to do. A lot of times people want to do that at the end of the year, but by then it's too late."

    Most players seemed to appreciate the addition of Fazio and Rhome. Safety Darren Sharper joked that "consultants are good when you have to worry about your taxes and things of a legal nature," but cornerback Fred Smoot took a more serious tone.

    "We're going to get some outside information," Smoot said. "We'll see what they're feeling about what we're doing, what we're doing right, and what we need to do to get better."

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  3. #3
    singersp's Avatar
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    Re: Vikings need all help they can get

    One reason new Vikings owner Zygi Wilf agreed to add consultants Foge Fazio for the defense and Jerry Rhome for the offense is he believed the coaching staff needed more help. The staff is by far the lowest paid in the NFL.

    "We found when we came in here that [former owner] Red McCombs left us kind of a ship that was somewhat unmanned," Wilf said. "We need to find the right people to help out and get this ship going in the right direction. And that's the reason why we're reaching out to two guys that have the confidence and the ability to help out in the coaching booth. I think that's very important that we do these things, and it came at the right time with the bye week. We hope that it improves our team.

    "There are a lot of subtle little things that have to be done, and we're going to show the support."

    Will Fazio and Rhome be here all year?

    "That's left to be seen, but I'm looking that they will be," Wilf said. He added that former Vikings coach Bud Grant will be a part of a retreat next week where the owners, head coach Mike Tice, vice president Rob Brzezinski and others will meet to talk about improving the Vikings' situation.

    "[Grant] will be addressing certain topics that are his expertise as it deals with team morale and team discipline, things that he's pretty good at," Wilf said. "He's been a consultant for me since the day I got in here. Yes, he is on the payroll. I keep on asking him for advice. So I felt it was necessary for him to be there."

    Wilf said it is unfair for anybody to panic after four games.

    "We're in the hunt for the division here. It might seem funny at 1-3 being in the hunt for the division, but we are," he said. "I don't know that it would be any different if we were behind a team that's 4-0. But we're behind [two teams that are] 1-2, so I'm not going to go ahead and panic or anything else.

    "We're in the hunt, and things change during the season. We certainly have the talent, but a lot of it is new talent. They have to play the ultimate team sport. So it takes time for guys to play together with one another. Whatever we can do to improve that will help."

    The situation under McCombs had team President Gary Woods report to McCombs, and then decisions were made. Now it's different. If Zygi or his brother, Mark, get a request, they act immediately. They are not penny pinchers like Woods was.

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  4. #4
    Muggsy is offline Asst. Coach
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    Viking Update article - Rhome likes what he sees.

    From Rhome to the O.C.

    By Viking Update Staff

    Date: Oct 7, 2005

    The Vikings brought in Jerry Rhome and Foge Fazio to serve as consultants, but after just a couple of days, it looks as if Rhome's duties are going to be considerably more expansive.

    The Vikings returned to their only full practice of the bye week Thursday with a couple of familiar faces roaming around Winter Park. Jerry Rhome and Foge Fazio, brought in this week to serve as consultants to review the Vikings' offensive and defensive schemes, were on hand to watch practice. But for one of them, it could be the start of something big.

    Rhome, a veteran offensive mind, is expected to assume the role of playcalling. While Steve Loney will retain the title of O.C., Rhome will likely be in the booth in charge of playcalling while Loney focuses on working more with the offensive line.

    "I’ve just been here this one practice. It was very spirited," Rhome said. "I told Mike (Tice), it was a very spirited workout. That is not a 1-3 team practicing, and it’s not a 1-3 team that’s got its heads between their legs. That was kind of fun, I know they are competitors here because I have been watching them. The Vikings have that kind of history for being a competitive football team. I don’t think that there is any doubt in my mind that Mike is going to get this team turned around."

    "I have been with teams that have struggled for a while and came back. The NFL is not easy. You have 32 teams out there fighting for the same thing. Sometimes you have some low moments, it is what you do in those low moments that puts you back on top. We are going to find out what the Vikings are made of. It is not going to be the first time that the Vikings have fallen back."

    FRIDAY NOTES
    * Daunte Culpepper had a cortisone shot in his ailing knee and missed Thursday's practice.
    * A former Pioneer Press writer now working in Denver claims Michael Bennett is all but certain to be traded to Denny Green and the Cardinals before the Oct. 18 trade deadline. Although the Vikings are dangerously thin at RB and Moe Williams had his knee on ice Thursday at Winter Park, the report claims that the disgruntled Bennett will sign a long-term deal with the Cardinals. What the Vikings would receive in exchange wasn't discussed.
    * Those trying to get Tice fired have been busy. Jimmy Johnson has been contacted concerning a potential job opening by media types but expressed no interest in coming to Minnesota.
    * With Kenechi Udeze out for the season, the Vikings plan to work out at least three players -- Antonio Cochran (last with the Seahawks), Anton Palepoi (Denver) and Matt Mitirione (Vikings).
    * Tice said Thursday that Adam Goldberg will replace Marcus Johnson as the starter at right guard.
    "From the fury of the Northmen, O Lord, save us!"
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  5. #5
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    Re: Viking Update article - Rhome likes what he sees.

    Rhome likes what he sees...I like what I hear. I hope he can help make a difference on offense.
    Even babies know the difference.

  6. #6
    umaguma1979's Avatar
    umaguma1979 is offline Asst. Coach
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    Re: Viking Update article - Rhome likes what he sees.

    Wow! .....Bennett is to be traded! It seems ole'Denny has less patience with his running backs than quarterbacks these days. I guess the terms of the trade are contingent upon how the Vikings perform the next couple games. If this rumor is true and the Viking loses to Chicago, we have seen the last of Bennett. At 1-4 or 1-5, the Viking will most certainly re looking to rebuild for next year and

    I am glad to see Goldberg elevated to starting guard......right now, he gives us the best chance to win when compared to Johnson. Plus Johnson is a young player with a lot of upside and ruining his psyche is not beneficial to reaching his potential.

    The fact Rhome is positive sounds like a consultant (not football, but hospital supplies)....as I am one.....compliment before you criticize. If Rhome is serious as staying on full-time as offense coordinator - this is the way to play it.

  7. #7
    Mr. Purple's Avatar
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    Re: Viking Update article - Rhome likes what he sees.

    good stuff...

    Theres NOTHING greater then a Florida Gator!
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  8. #8
    audioghost is offline Star Spokesman
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    Re: Vikings need all help they can get

    Yeah, so I have confidence in my team pullin threw....once they get the play calling down and the players hyped up...the Vikes will dominate again...you just wait and see....

    Vikings
    All talent, no motivation or stradegy

    Packers
    Little talent, no motivation but bett stradegy then the Vikes right now...

    Who gets outta the rut faster? I'm thinkin the team with the good players !

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  9. #9
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    Re: Vikings need all help they can get

    Whose idea was it to bring in Rhome and Fazio? Wilf's or Tice's ? I first read about it online at Fox Sports and the way I read it there it was Wilf's idea to bring thses guys in.

  10. #10
    umaguma1979's Avatar
    umaguma1979 is offline Asst. Coach
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    Re: Vikings need all help they can get

    I think it was Wilf, who had suggested the idea after the Tampa game, because he was showing support for Tice and that he was going to pay whatever Tice needed.

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