Will It Be Reggie Or Red?

While the Vikings and their fans wait for a decision on Reggie Fowler's bid to buy the franchise from Red McCombs, the issue of getting a new stadium is being delayed and precious time — and money — is wasting away.

Timberwolves billionaire owner Glen Taylor is prepared to step in and buy the Vikings if Red McCombs' deal with Arizona businessman Reggie Fowler falls through.

Fowler agreed to buy the team and has given McCombs a $20 million nonrefundable down payment. NFL owners aren't expected to vote on whether to accept Fowler until their May 24-25 meetings in Washington D.C.

The NFL Finance Committee is still waiting for Fowler to finish selling 25 percent of his aviation simulation company, SATCO. Fowler contends the transaction will bring him $300 million, more than enough to pay for his 30 percent as general partner and sustain possible early financial losses while the Vikings play at the cash-unfriendly Metrodome.

Other reports have argued that SATCO's entire worth is far less than $300 million. Eventually, the truth will be revealed.

Until then, Taylor and his group of partners will wait. Taylor's worth, estimated at $1.2 billion, is unquestioned.

However, if Fowler's finances don't hold up, don't expect a quick deal to be made with Taylor. For starters, Taylor wasn't willing to pay $625 million to begin with, and don't expect McCombs to lower the price any time soon. The NFL also would frown on the selling price of a franchise going down.

McCombs probably would hang on to the team for at least another season. He used the $20 million down payment from Fowler on bonuses for free agents, so he's not exactly hurting for money.

The real shame in the Fowler delay is a new owner is losing valuable time in pushing for a new stadium. The Vikings' lease with the Metrodome expires in 2011.

The state legislature wasn't going to give McCombs a new stadium, and it certainly isn't going to address the issue until Fowler is accepted.

If Fowler is denied, Taylor has suggested that an entire year of work toward a new stadium will be lost. With 2011 fast approaching, the cost of building stadiums rising every year and Minnesotans' reluctance to help foot the bill, crunch time for the Vikings staying in Minnesota is arriving quickly.

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