Conspiracy Theory?

Aside from the JFK killing, VU staffers aren't big on conspiracies. However, it doesn't keep us from reporting the theories being thrown out on the Anoka County stadium story.

Smoke doesn't always mean fire. But, when it comes to big business, there usually is a connection.

So it was when VU was contacted Wednesday by a proponent of a theory that says Red McCombs' asking price for the Vikings may not be what it seems. He may, as the term in Hollywood goes, be getting the money on the back end.

It seems that the site being considered in Anoka County for a new Vikings stadium is on the site of the old Trout-Air venue -- which used to hold outdoor concerts.

Why is this significant? The Trout-Air site was bought a few years back by Clear Channel Communications, whose major stockholder is current owner Red McCombs. While this may not smell of conspiracy to most, it's interesting that the guy who some have been told has already sold the team, also holds the title to the land being viewed as the frontrunner to the property that the new stadium will be situated.

We're more into letting you determine whether something like this is conpiracy, coincidence or none of the above. We report, you decide.

* The injury reports were released Wednesday and, as expected, RB Moe Williams was listed as doubtful for Sunday with a foot injury. WR D'Wayne Bates was listed as questionable with a knee injury. Six players -- WR Kelly Campbell (foot), G David Dixon (hip), WR Cedric James (ankle), OT Chris Liwienski (back), LB Jim Nelson (knee) and WR Chris Walsh (knee) -- were listed as probable.
* The Packers injury list includes starters who, as reported earlier in VU, are huge question marks. OT Chad Clifton is listed as out, but that was made more than official by the Packers placing him on injured reserve following an injury sustained on a hit by Warren Sapp. DT Gilbert Brown (ankle), RB Ahman Green (knee) and CB Tyrone Williams (hamstring) are all listed as questionable and WR Terry Glenn (hip) and DT Steve Warren (knee) are listed as probable.
* The mother of Green Bay DE Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila was killed in a one-car crash and he has left the team to be with his family. While VU has been told he is expected to play Sunday, there is no certainty as to his status at this point.
* The Vikings payroll of $46.6 million is $18 million under the salary cap, but that doesn't mean the Vikings have a lot of wiggle room under the cap. The team is still paying for several players no longer with the team, including -- in a sad irony -- Korey Stringer.
* A hot rumor coming out of San Francisco has Steve Mariucci stepping out after this season. A name again surfacing is Dennis Green. However, after recent comments made by Terrell Owens about Green, it would be hard to imagine the two of them coexisting peacefully.
* VU has been told there is more than a passing possibility that the NFL will revamp its overtime policy this year. Even though just three of five teams that win the toss win the game in OT, there is a prevailing feeling that the system needs change. Requests to ask if Detroit would defer from a vote were not returned Wednesday.

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