Fowler's Interest Still Guarded

The sale of the Vikings could happen any time … or not. At this point, it all depends on who is talking and when.

Whether it's simply a ploy to smoke out a higher offer from Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor or the makings of a legitimate offer from another party, this much is certain: Arizona entrepreneur Reggie Fowler did meet with Vikings owner Red McCombs' staff, he did review the team's financial books and he is deciding whether to make a formal offer for the team.

The only known offer since McCombs put the team up for sale three years ago is $400 million from Taylor. McCombs is asking for about $600 million. Forbes magazine has valued the team at $524 million.

Fowler, 45, is an intensely private businessman. In fact, he's so private that Cardinals owner Bill Bidwill and Jerry Colangelo, who runs the Phoenix Suns and Arizona Diamondbacks, had never heard of him despite living in the same community.

Fowler's company, Spiral Inc., had an estimated $314 million in sales last year, according to Black Enterprise Magazine. Fowler, who is black, would be the first minority owner in the NFL.

Taylor said Fowler's involvement won't change his offer. However, he did say he hoped McCombs would allow him the opportunity to make a counteroffer.

McCombs bought the team for $246 million in 1998. He has been asking for a new stadium for six years, and is skeptical about the chances of the Vikings getting one as long as he owns the team.

Some believe McCombs won't sell the team once the regular season starts because he'll become too caught up in the excitement of a team many believe will contend for the Super Bowl this season.

McCombs downplayed Fowler's interest last week.

"What's happened so far is not unusual," McCombs said. "We've had numerous requests to look at our (books).

"We may never hear from those people again. They requested a package. They got the package. You never know. I don't put any stock in that at all."

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