Rumors that Red McCombs is close to selling the Vikings have heated up again since Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor visited training camp last Thursday and declared that discussions between he and McCombs "are closer now than they've ever been."
Taylor, a Mankato, Mn., businessman who wants to buy the Vikings and keep them in Minnesota, was invited to sign autographs at a booth during training camp. He watched the morning practice and spoke with head coach Mike Tice.
McCombs, who was miffed about Taylor's appearance at camp, said no deal is imminent, but those with knowledge of the situation say McCombs has become more detached from the Vikings and is prepared to sell because he doesn't think the Minnesota Legislature will ever build a stadium as long as he owns the team.
McCombs bought the Vikings for $246 million in 1998. He put the team up or sale in 2001 and is asking in excess of $600 million. Forbes magazine has valued the team at $542 million. Taylor has offered about $400 million.
While Taylor said he and McCombs are closer to a deal than ever, he added, "I wouldn't say things are close. But Red's being patient in this, and I'm being patient."
McCombs simply said, "There is nothing new there at all."
Taylor's comments might have been designed to prod the Legislature into moving toward a stadium deal this fall. He said buying the Vikings would require a new stadium.
"If you're going to pay anywhere near Red's price, you've got to have a new stadium," Taylor said.
Taylor's chances of getting a new stadium are considered greater than McCombs' because Taylor is a local businessman. McCombs made his fortune selling used cars in Texas. He lives in San Antonio and visits Minnesota only for games and important team business.
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