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Vikings Fire Linebackers Coach

January 19, 2000

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) _ The Minnesota Vikings fired inside linebackers coach Tom Olivadotti, the Saint Paul Pioneer Press reported on Wednesday.

Coach Dennis Green made the move Tuesday night in Mobile, Ala., where the Vikings coaching staff is gathered to scout Senior Bowl workouts this week.

Olivadotti, 54, said he was stunned at the firing, which came after a staff meeting Monday during which, according to Olivadotti, Green said no coaching changes were pending.

``I’ve been coaching 32 years and I’ve never been fired by a coach I worked for,″ he told the Pioneer Press. ``If you want to know the truth, I was not given a reason. I was told by Denny that he wanted to make a change in the defense, philosophical changes.

``I told him, `I coach two guys, so how much of an impact do I have on the philosophy of the defense? That’s where you start to make changes, with a coach who coaches two players? I don’t know what that means.″

The Vikings’ defense this season ranked 27th in the NFL, with a pass defense ranked 30th and a run defense ranked 14th.

Olivadotti was defensive coordinator with the Miami Dolphins for nine seasons before being hired by Green in 1996.

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