Red, Reggie, Randy

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Of Red, Reggie, and Randy

Purple hearts and black souls

It looks like the NFL finance committee, which met last night for the first time to discuss the Vikings sale, won't be making a public recommendation anytime soon. Roger Goodell, the league's chief operating officer, tells the Strib that a decision will come in late May at "the earliest." The paper has done a great job in covering the details of Fowler's bid and background in recent weeks; it has done less well in connecting the dots.

Consider, for instance, the Randy Moss trade, which shored up the Vikings' continuing status as the lowest-payroll team in the NFL, and one of the few that has to struggle to meet the league's salary cap minimum. Asked about it afterward, McCombs made a remark the Strib seems to have missed, telling reporters that "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."

Given the public questions already raised about Fowler--concerning his resume, his business associates, and his personal fortune--we suspect the accent belongs on the first half of that statement. (Pat Reusse, who wrote earlier that Fowler's bid was expected to be approved, wrote last week that the rumor mill now says it "could be in serious trouble.") Sounds like Red expects to be owning the Vikes for some time to come. Which raises the question of why McCombs accepted an offer that came with question marks in lieu of the lower but safer bid from Glen Taylor.

Well, there is the small matter of the $20 million down payment Fowler delivered to McCombs with his formal purchase offer. Far as we've seen, no press account has clarified whether any of that money would be refundable in the event Fowler is turned down. We've got a call in to the league offices today, and we'll let you know what we find out.   

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