<
>

McCombs reportedly wants more than $600M

MINNEAPOLIS -- Glen Taylor has never made a secret of his
interest in buying the Minnesota Vikings. Lately, though, he seems
especially keen to make sure owner Red McCombs doesn't forget about
him.

In an interview Thursday, Taylor confirmed that he's increased
the amount he's willing to pay for the team -- though he stopped
short of specifying a figure.

"I think the income sources for the team are probably
greater," said Taylor, alluding to the NFL's new television
contract that will bring billions of more dollars to the league
starting in 2006. "Overall, I just think all the values of all
franchise are greater."

It's been widely reported that McCombs has asked $600 million
for the team since placing it on the market in May 2002, and recent
speculation has his price tag rising higher than that.

Taylor, who already owns the NBA Timberwolves, took a back seat
when McCombs entered an exclusive negotiating period with Arizona
entrepreneur Reggie Fowler. That's expected to last a few more
weeks, and Taylor has made clear he's ready to move quickly if
Fowler's bid falls through.

Taylor acknowledged Thursday that he's willing to pay more than
the $450 million he originally offered about a year ago. He
declined, however, to be specific about his current price range and
said it would not be accurate to say he is currently offering $600
million.

"It depends on what I offer," said Taylor, who built his
fortune from a Mankato printing company.

Pointing to the lack of progress on a replacement for the
22-year-old Metrodome -- where the Vikings' revenue is near the
bottom of the league -- Taylor said he didn't think the franchise is
necessarily a better investment for him now than it was before.

"For us, I think we have the same problem," Taylor said,
referring to stalled stadium talks. "The entry barrier has been
raised, if you want to get in."

Because of his previous experience as a state legislator and
numerous connections in the local business community, Taylor said
his ownership of the Vikings would probably give the 44-year-old
franchise its best chance of a new place to play.

"I think it's most likely our best chance of getting it done,"
he said.

Of course, if Fowler is successful, it's a moot point.

"I won't do anything if Reggie gets a deal," Taylor said. "If
that falls apart, I'm prepared to move."

Neither McCombs nor Fowler have returned phone calls for several
weeks.