Yesterday, a Viking Update source close to the situation told us that a deal for the sale of the Vikings for $450 million had been signed between Red McCombs and Glen Taylor. VU publisher Bob Lurtsema is confident in the source and stands behind that report "110 percent" and said he respects McCombs.
For now, McCombs is denying the sale of the team to local printing millionaire and Timberwolves owner Taylor. But McCombs is also denying that he is even discussing a deal with bidders, and there are strong indications from several media outlets besides Viking Update that talks have intensified.
Taylor is out of the country, but one television station got a "no comment" from Taylor instead of a flat-out denial. WCCO-TV sports anchor Mark Rosen, after checking with his sources, said he believes Viking Update's story "has some teeth."
KFAN radio talk show host Chad Hartman, also the Timberwolves' play-by-play radio announcer, said he didn't believe that a sale has already taken place, but after checking with his contacts said that talks between Taylor and McCombs have intensified over the last few weeks.
Another ironic twist is that within two hours of Viking Update posting the report on this Web site yesterday, the Vikings issued a release promoting a garage sale from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. today at Winter Park, saying in bold letters "Everything must go!"
"Items in the sale include used weight room equipment, televisions, blocking sleds and dummies, taping tables, team media guides, game programs, yearbooks, team pictures, exercise equipment, Jerry Burns' and Bud Grant's Winter Park desks, office couches, video projectors, jerseys, jackets, caps, etc…" the release said.
The Vikings still haven't made significant progress in securing a new stadium for the team, which they have been working on since the latter days of the Roger Headrick ownership group, and getting that stadium would turn around the financial outlook of the team. However, some people are convinced that the Minnesota Legislature won't grant a stadium to a non-local owner. McCombs resides in San Antonio, Texas, while Taylor's businesses are in Mankato and Minneapolis.
Furthermore, Taylor was a decade-long member of the Minnesota Senate until 1990, and some indications are that he would stand a much better chance of securing public financing for a stadium with his continued contacts at the local political level.
Also, McCombs reportedly has lost nearly half of his personal wealth — from $2.1 billion to $1.1 billion — with his heavy ties to Clear Channel stock, which has dropped dramatically over the last year.
McCombs Denies Sale, But Indicators Strong
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