McCombs in charge until sale approved or rejected

Updated: March 3, 2005, 7:46 PM ET
Associated Press

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- With prospective buyer Reggie Fowler's offer to buy the Minnesota Vikings about to get a close look from the NFL, current owner Red McCombs said Thursday that he's confident the sale will be approved.

"I'm making decisions as if I were to continue to be the owner of the Vikings although I fully expect that Mr. Fowler's deal will be consummated," McCombs said in a teleconference from Texas.

McCombs said commissioner Paul Tagliabue has met with Fowler to discuss a number of issues, including Fowler's financial status and an embarrassing incident two weeks ago in which Fowler representatives distributed a biography to reporters that included several inaccuracies.

"(Tagliabue) was very comfortable with the answers to all of that and he was very comfortable with Reggie and that the process was moving forward and making progress," McCombs said.

The NFL's Finance Committee will meet next week to decide whether to recommend Fowler's bid to other owners. The deal would make Fowler the NFL's first black owner.

Until the sale is approved or rejected, McCombs is running the team as he sees fit.

The blockbuster trade that sent star receiver Randy Moss to the Oakland Raiders for linebacker Napoleon Harris, the No. 7 pick in April's draft and a seventh-round pick was completed on Wednesday, a day in which the Vikings also signed veteran defensive tackle Pat Williams of Buffalo.

McCombs said he contacted Fowler as a courtesy several days before the Vikings agreed to trade Moss.

"(Fowler) said, 'Thank you very much for sharing that information with me. I appreciate it very much,'" McCombs said of Fowler's reaction to the news. "There was nothing negative in his response whatsoever."

Some people have doubted whether Fowler, who has mostly shied from media attention and revealed little about his finances, can afford the required 30 percent share of a $625 million purchase to be ownership's general partner.

McCombs said he was confident Fowler has the money. But he said he'll take it in stride if the deal falls through.

"I'll keep (the team) until I find somebody else to buy it," McCombs said. "If I find somebody else the next day, I'm going to sell it."


Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press

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