McCombs Next NFL Renegade?

For three days, VU has been forced to sit on a story a connection with the league told us Thursday. Saturday night, we got confirmation from an East Coast source that is too well connected to let it go -- the L.A. relocation story has a new twist.

VU reluctantly printed late last week that the vote to explore expansion into Los Angeles -- whether it be one team or two -- was approved by a 30-1-1 vote. The "official" version said Al Davis and the Raiders voted "no" and the Colts abstained.

However, at the time, VU was told that the Vikings and Chargers -- the other two teams being targeted if L.A. is to get one franchise in relocation -- also abstained from the vote. How then, could the vote be 30-1-1? From what we were told at the time, neither the Vikings nor the Chargers cast a vote -- the Colts made a point to abstain. Considering the overwhelming support of other owners, those two votes were assumed as "yes" votes, instead of "no" votes or abstentions.

Even stranger was that, after meeting with Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, Red McCombs opted not to meet with the owners in Philly. VU has been told that the official Vikings votes on matters of precedence at the league meetings were handled by Marsha McCombs -- Red's daughter.

The abstentions of the Vikings, Colts and Chargers can mean only one thing -- much like the Twins and Expos voting for MLB contraction. One of those three franchises will end up in Los Angeles. Our money stays on the Chargers, which have the earliest "out" clause on their stadium deal. But, it's interesting to see how the Vikings' situation with the league continues to remain in flux.

* Memo to McCombs: There's a lot of money to be had in Los Angeles, but there are a lot of Minnesota Legislators that represent season-ticket holders in Minnesota. They will insist that the state fight you if you move the team to L.A. and, trust us Red, Minnesota is a lover scorned if you burn them. However much more your franchise is worth in Los Angeles, how does $300 million in attorney's fees strike you? That's the starting point. VU has been told by a couple of key Legislators that they will fight McCombs as hard and as long as it takes if he moves. A sample quote: "That Attorney General's office has a lot of attorneys. For Mr. McCombs to compete, he'll have to get just as many." Ouch, babe.
* Vikings V.P. Mike Kelly had one of the charges stemming from his DWI arrest thrown out late last week and other evidence ordered inadmissable if and when his case goes to trial in Mille Lacs County. Kelly was arrested following an incident at the ill-fated Arctic Blast fundraiser earlier this year.

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