Arizona Bid For Vikes Serious

The sale of the Vikings to an investment group fronted by Reggie Fowler of Arizona has been dismissed by the local media. But, it shouldn't be.

For Vikings fans who dismissed Reggie Fowler as the latest incarnation of Tom Clancy or that paper millionaire from Las Vegas who lived in a trailer and skipped out on bills, it may be time to guess again.

While no formal offer has been presented, VU was told by an Arizona source with inside knowledge of the Fowler-based group that, if the overtures to buy the team have been underestimated, maybe it's time for the movers and shakers of the Twin Cities media to do some investigative reporting.

One particular TC media giant (a hint: he double-dated with Moses) has claimed that Fowler is a non-entity. We hate to disagree, but we must.

Fowler is not the anonymous stranger he has been portrayed to be. VU has been told that Fowler's group has not only the intention, but the financing to outbid an offer from Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor, who has publicly remained adament that he will not budge too far above his initial offer of $400 million.

For the record, Red McCombs bought the Vikes for $250 million in 1998. Taylor and his peeps are said to be offering a little more than $400 million. Red is asking for $600 million. Industry publications assess the value of the Vikings at roughly $500 million.

Hints have been dropped that Fowler is far from alone in the pursuit of the franchise -- he has a heavy hitter in his financial corner that VU is convinced is the key to any approved sale. But, all we can say at this time is the partner is "Well-Heeled."

There are still circulating rumors that, if a deal is going to get done with McCombs, it will be done within the next two weeks. If not, we will have to wait until February -- if Red believes in his team, the value should be significantly raised by then.

If anything is taken from the recent discussion of an imminent sale, it should be this -- don't discount Fowler's group. Not only is the group intent on buying the Vikings, there have been promises made that the group recognizes the 40-plus-year history of the Vikings in Minnesota and is looking to keep the team here. But, if no assistance is forthcoming from the State Legislature, that stance could change in two or three years.

The significance? That would bump up against the time frame Commissioner Paul Tagliabue has pronounced for a return to L.A. for the NFL. Enjoy your Vikings now. If a deal goes through that doesn't include Taylor, all bets are off.

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