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McCombs says Vikings will be sold by June

MINNEAPOLIS (May 9, 2005) -- Minnesota Vikings owner Red McCombs said he's confident his team will soon be sold to the investor group now headed by New Jersey real estate developer Zygmunt Wilf.

"Sounds like Zyggi's going to be the biggie," McCombs said, chuckling from his San Antonio office. "That's what they're planning right now."

He's serious about this transaction, though, and he expressed no doubt about its completion.

"I expected it to close when we signed, and I still do," said McCombs, who is anticipating the sale to close sometime in June.

"I don't have a drop-dead date," he said.

The deal has been in the works for nearly a year, and the purchase agreement was announced three months ago. At that point, Arizona businessman Reggie Fowler -- who could have become the NFL's first black owner -- led a group that included four limited partners.

One of those partners was Wilf, who has since assumed the lead role -- presumably because Fowler has been unable to raise the money required to be in charge. By league rules, the general partner must have a 30 percent stake in the franchise. McCombs is selling the club for a reported $625 million.

Wilf told the Star Tribune over the weekend that he won't move the team and that Fowler remains part of the group, but he has not done any other interviews. Fowler has not commented since February. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello, through his secretary, said there was no timetable for an official announcement regarding the Vikings ownership structure.

McCombs confirmed that Fowler will actively continue with the group and said it was possible for him to reassume control in the future if he's financially able.

"They have that option in our contract with them, and they keep us apprised," McCombs said.

McCombs is still in charge of daily operations, continuing to speak regularly with vice president of football operations Rob Brzezinski and head coach Mike Tice. League owners are expected to vote on the purchase at their spring meetings on May 24-25 in Washington, D.C., and McCombs said he'll be there representing the Vikings. He said he fully expects his fellow owners to approve (at least 75 percent is required).

"We'll be making all the decisions and make every move until it is completed, saucered and blowed," McCombs said, switching briefly to Texas vernacular.

The next question: Will McCombs be included in the vote on the sale of his own team?

"No one has told me about that -- I don't believe I'd be voting against it," McCombs said.

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