L.A. Stadium Push Collapses

After talking big for the last couple of months, VU has been told the Anschutz Group of investors has shut down its current attempt to get the NFL in Los Angeles.

Vikings fans have been bombarded over the last year or so with discussions from many sides about the Vikings leaving. Red McCombs has made threats, the Vikings have come up in discussions of moving the team to San Antonio and McCombs has hired a consuslting firm to check out potential bidders -- which has produced many more suitors than originally thought possible.

But the most troubling of all to Vikings fans was a coalition of billionaires that formed the Anschutz investment group, whose mission was to build a state-of-the-art privately funded stadium in Los Angeles to lure a team -- many thought may be the Vikings -- to come to L.A. and give the city an NFL team again.

However, VU has been told by a source with inside information on the subject that the deal, for now anyway, is dead. The Anschutz Group abruptly stopped business this weekend, saying it can't get a deal done to risk the $500 million it would take to build a stadium with a disorganized group of detractors lining up against them.

Tim Leiweke, president of the Anschutz operating team, said the group was "unwilling to risk millions of dollars amid fractuous local political in-fighting and an aggressive push by boosters of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to compete for an NFL team."

The result means that the Anschutz Group won't be putting a team in Los Angeles in the forseeable future and, if they do start up again, it will likely be to lure the San Diego Chargers, who have only two years left on their current lease.

* VU has finally got the official numbers on Derrick Alexander's three-year, $5.1 million deal. It included a $700,000 signing bonus, which was hinted at to VU by a team source last weekend, but reported in other media as being a deal with no signing bonus, and base salaries of $1.6 million this year and $1.4 million in 2003 and 2004. With the salary going down after this season and staying at an extremely manageable $1.4 million, if Alexander stays healthy, he could be a steal at that price. Seeing that the full cost of his deal is about the same as merely the signing bonus Johnnie Morton got to sign with K.C., the Vikings are smiling all the way to what remains in their bank account.
* There is some discussion that Tampa Bay may have had a wink-and-ink deal in place for Keenan McCardell. A VU source with the league said the NFL may investigate allegations made late last week that McCardell and the Bucs may have had a deal in place before he was released June 1. When he visited Kansas City, he demanded a $5 million signing bonus. Without seeing his value drop over four days, he signed a deal with the Bucs with a $2 million signing bonus. Collusion? Some seem to think so and want the league to check into it.
* A pre-trial hearing on the Korey Stringer wrongful death suit is scheduled for June 24.
* Former Viking Terry Allen will visit the Saints Monday and there is talk around the organization, at least with those who have almost always been dead-on with Saints-related signings, that New Orleans will likely re-sign Allen as a veteran backup for Deuce McAllister.

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