Wall Street and the NFC North

Could the Vikings really be on the selling block, despite what Red McCombs would like you to believe? And a look at this week's matchups in the NFC North division.

Listening to people close to the team and around the league this past week, the motto was, "Sell, Sell, Sell."

Minnesota isn't Wall Street, but Red McCombs is in that selling mood.

It's become apparent that Vikings owner Red McCombs, despite his plea that he isn't looking to sell the team, is doing just that. A league source confirms to this column that McCombs is looking for an out, and it could happen very soon.

"McCombs has been exploring the option of selling the team, going back about a year. While nothing was ever in a serious stage, without reservation, McCombs has watched some of his fortune erode and he does not want any part of dropping more serious cash down," the source said. "He would have to pay upwards of 75-100 million dollars for stadium deal, he is also more than discouraged with much of the inner-workings of the game. McCombs likes to be in complete control and dictate things, he is finding out that he can't do that in football. That is a problem for him."

"The Minnesota legislature really doesn't care for McCombs, they certainly aren't going to do much, if anything, for him on a stadium and the fanbase is getting a bit tired of the act as well."

Chicago Bears (2-1) vs. Buffalo Bills (1-2). Chicago, coming off a 29-23 loss to the New Orleans Saints, may not want to see what they are getting into Sunday, against the Buffalo Bills. The key losses of defensive end Phillip Daniels, defensive tackle Ted Washington, and defensive back R. W. McQuarters have stripped some talent and depth from the Chicago defense. With the acquisition of veteran quarterback Drew Bledsoe, the Bills have become a very difficult offensive football team. The Bears' strength is stopping the running game well, the Bills do not run the football well, and they don't overemphasize the run. Buffalo will pressure the Bears secondary, and this game basically should come down to the Chicago defense against the Buffalo offense. This has the makings of a good game and a very difficult one for the Bears.

Green Bay Packers (2-1) vs. Carolina Panthers (3-0). The Packers are coming off a shoot-out victory against the Detroit Lions (37-31). Defensively, Green Bay is not playing well. Injuries to defensive end Vonnie Holliday and defensive back Antuan Edwards have weakened an already questionable defense. The Packers are a serious contender to win the NFC North Division, but without even an average defense, they could be in trouble. Offensively, the Packers continue to succeed, even with a revamped wide receiver corps and star running back Ahman Green battling a quad injury. The Panthers are 3-0 and are playing solid football under first-year head coach John Fox. Solid defensively and fairly conservative on the offensive side of the ball, the Panthers don't make many mistakes. Sunday, the Panthers should get a taste of reality when they walk into Lambeau Field to face Brett Favre and the Packers.

Detroit Lions (0-3) vs. New Orleans Saints (3-0). Detroit can lay the claim that they are an improving football team. Being outscored 80-28 in losses to the Dolphins (49-21) and Carolina (31-7), the Lions lost a hard-fought battle to the Packers last week in Detroit, 37-31. Inserting rookie quarterback Joey Harrington into the lineup last week shows that the team is looking to the future. Detroit had an opportunity to beat the Packers, but Harrington was intercepted late in the game to seal the Packers victory. The Lions struggle defensively, the pass rush has been average at best, and the rush defensive is inconsistent. Detroit is a football team with many holes and are far from being a competitive team, the M and M show in Detroit is in trouble, as the Lions are today when the Saints come marching through the Motor City.

Minnesota Vikings (0-3) vs. Seattle Seahawks (0-3). The Seattle Seahawks could be just what the doctor ordered for the Vikings. Terribly inconsistent defensively, especially in the secondary, the Vikings face a team in Seattle that hasn't thrown the ball well, have given up on their running game early in most games, and basically have been ineffective. Offensively the Vikings can move the football, but will wide receiver Randy Moss be a distraction, both with his on-field and off-field issues. Furthermore, the Vikings must run the ball better to be competitive. Daunte Culpepper does not have the same supporting cast in the Twin Cities to overcome obstacles. If the Minnesota defense can rise to the occasion, they will have a very good chance in Seattle.


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