McCombs Speaks Out After Weeks of Silence

Vikings owner Red McCombs went silent a couple of weeks ago. He finally spoke to VU and other media Tuesday about such topics as moving, Dennis Green, the 2001 season and Kelci Stringer.

Since taking over the Vikings, Red McCombs has been very gracious with interview requests. A guy who has packaged the Vikings under the umbrella of "Purple Pride," McCombs went uncharacteristically silent after the team began it's recent record slide.

McCombs broke his silence Tuesday, speaking to VU and other media types to address some current issues.

First was his disappointment with how quickly his team has gone from struggling to pathetic, saying he is saddened by the lack of consistency the team has shown and his disappointment particularly in the last two games. However, contrary to the rumor mill that has already begun, he isn't considering firing Dennis Green, saying he is one of the best coaches in the NFL and the Vikings are lucky to have him.

As to other rumors that he might move or sell the team, McCombs said he has no intention of selling the team and isn't considering relocating. Of course, that could change if the state remains adament about a publicly financed stadium once the Twins are contracted.

Finally, when asked if the ceremony for Monday's game retiring Korey Stringer's No. 77 will be awkward in light of Kelci Stringer's $100 million pending lawsuit, he said it won't be awkward, that the ceremony was planned many weeks ago and that it is part of the Vikings grieving to honor their fallen teammate.

* Stringer will be only the fourth Viking to have his jersey retired, joining Fran Tarketon (10), Alan Page (88) and Jim Marshall (70) as having retired numbers.
* The elite group of retired numbers won't stay at four for long. At the Nov. 25 game vs. Chicago, the Vikings will retire Mick Tingelhoff's No. 53. Many believe the NFL has done a great disservice to Tingelhoff by not voting him into the Hall of Fame, but many think that opening the door with Ron Yary could help players like Tingelhoff, Marshall and Carl Eller eventually get induction calls.
* A sign the NFL and the TV networks are climbing off the Vikings bandwagon, the league is switching times on games to get marquee matchups for late games. In that vein, the league moved the Vikings-Jacksonville game Dec. 23 at the Metrodome from 3:15 p.m. Central Time to noon -- a sign they don't see that as a national game for CBS.
* Byron Chamberlain had an MRI on his right knee and it showed a mild cartilage tear. But it isn't expected to keep him out of game action Monday.
* Former Viking Keith Thibodeaux, signed three weeks ago by Green Bay, was released Tuesday.
* Another former Viking, RB Terry Allen, will be out of action 2-4 weeks with a broken hand.

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