On this day in 2002: Mike Tice gets first taste of victory with Vikings

On this date in 2002, the Minnesota Vikings won their first game with Mike Tice as their head coach
Former Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Tice
Former Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Tice / Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

After an appearance in the 2000 NFC Championship, expectations were high for the Minnesota Vikings heading into the 2001 season.

However, things just didn't go according to plan, and the Vikings finished the 2001 campaign with a miserable 5-11 record.

Before the 2001 season came to a complete close, Minnesota actually parted ways with longtime head coach Dennis Green before the final game on their schedule. As their interim head coach, the Vikings went with Mike Tice, the team's offensive line coach at the time.

Minnesota was unable to defeat the Baltimore Ravens in their 2001 regular-season finale, but shortly after, the Vikings decided to name Tice as their full-time head coach.

In their first four games of the 2002 season, Minnesota fell short in each of their matchups. But after their bye in Week 5, the Vikings hosted a struggling Detroit Lions team inside the old Metrodome on October 13th.

The start of the matchup went about as poorly as it could have for Minnesota. The Lions drove 80 yards down the field for a touchdown on their first offensive drive of the game, and then two plays into the Vikings' next opportunity on offense, Minnesota quarterback Daunte Culpepper threw a pick-six to Detroit linebacker Chris Claiborne.

The Vikings were quickly down 14-0, and they appeared to be on their way to an 0-5 start in their first full season with Tice as the team's head coach.

But then things settled down for Minnesota, and they were able to claw their way back into the contest. A touchdown by Vikings running back Michael Bennett tied the game at 24 apiece, and on their next offensive drive, Minnesota took a seven-point lead after running back Moe Williams punched it in the end zone from two yards out.

The Lions had one last chance to tie the score and send the game to overtime. Detroit drove the ball deep into Vikings territory, and when facing 2nd-and-Goal from Minnesota's eight-yard line, Lions quarterback Joey Harrington fired a pass into the back right of the end zone.

But instead of the pass landing in the hands of Detroit wide receiver Az-Zahir Hakim, Vikings safety Corey Chavous snatched the ball out of the air and sealed the win for Minnesota with an interception.


The Vikings' players knew what the win meant, and they celebrated by dumping a giant jug full of orange Gatorade all over Tice.

That day, Tice got his first of 32 career regular-season victories as the head coach of Minnesota. The Vikings went on to finish the 2002 campaign with a 6-10 record.

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