MEDIA McCombs: Vikings will pursue Moss : LUSENET : Purple : One Thread

Published: Tuesday, April 3, 2001


McCombs: Vikings will pursue Moss

Pioneer Press

---------------------------------------------------------------------- -- SEAN JENSEN STAFF WRITER ---------------------------------------------------------------------- -- Although the Vikings are expected to lose money for the first time under his ownership this fiscal year and the team's stadium efforts likely are stalled for another year, owner Red McCombs said he still intends to sign wide receiver Randy Moss to a long-term contract extension before next season. ``We still would like to address (signing Moss) before the season starts,'' McCombs said Monday from his San Antonio office. ``But if we don't get that addressed, then we get along with our business. Trying to make the team as positive and as good as we can is an ongoing challenge. And, of course, we would like Randy Moss to be a part of the solutions.'' Moss is heading into the final year of his contract, which, including an escalator clause for making the Pro Bowl in his first three seasons, pushes his compensation for next season to more than $3.5 million. To keep Moss, the Vikings almost certainly would have to make him the highest-paid receiver, if not player, in the NFL. Keyshawn Johnson of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers has the highest-paying contract for a receiver. He signed an eight-year, $53.5 million contract last offseason that included a $13 million signing bonus. For the first time since he criticized the team after an embarrassing loss in the NFC championship game, Moss softened his stance Thursday after judging a dunk competition at Concordia University-St. Paul, but he also indicated he would be willing to move on if necessary. ``Do I think the Vikings can win a Super Bowl? I don't know,'' he said Thursday. ``I think if they have a chance of winning, it's going to be hard regardless of whether they have me or they don't have me. They drafted me. They took a chance on me. I don't really feel that I can go anywhere else and feel comfortable and have another 84 jersey on if it's not a Minnesota Viking (jersey). ``As far as me staying here, I would love to play with a guy like Daunte Culpepper and to be coached by a guy like Denny (Green),'' he said. ``But at the same time, you have to do what's right because this is a business. If they keep me a Minnesota Viking, I'm going to do whatever is in my power to get a Super Bowl. If I'm not here, I'm going to have to try to take the Super Bowl away from them.'' Although the Vikings have little room under the salary cap, the team could save money if it were to sign Moss to a long-term extension. Even with an exorbitant signing bonus of more than $16 million, the team could lower its cap number by spreading the hit of that bonus over the length of the contract and paying him a salary close to the veterans' minimum of $477,000. But the team would like to take care of two other young players -- center Matt Birk and linebacker Kailee Wong -- before working on Moss' mega-deal. If the Vikings can work out long-term deals with Birk and Wong, they also could find cap relief. Although it would mean even greater losses, a league source indicated the Vikings wouldn't be an attractive franchise to another city or a potential owner without Moss and a solid lineup in place. Still, those signing bonuses would be tough to dole out now. For this fiscal year, which includes the 2000 season, the team had a negative cash flow and a negative net income for the first time under McCombs, according to a league source. The negative cash flow was in the tens of millions; the negative net income was more than $5 million. In the previous fiscal year, the cash flow was negative, but the team had a positive net income. In the coming years, those figures are expected to worsen, a point Vikings executive vice president Mike Kelly has hammered away at in his efforts to lobby support for a new retractable domed stadium. ``It's almost impossible not to lose money from this point forward,'' McCombs said. ``How much will just depend on how creative and successful we are, and a lot of other things.'' Kelly hopes to move the team's proposed study bill to the next step Wednesday morning when he testifies before the Minnesota Legislature's government operations committee. Kelly also stressed that the team and community cannot postpone action on a new Vikings stadium for too long. In March 2003, the NFL's G3 loan, which provides $51 million to cities building stadiums, expires and may not be extended. McCombs expressed disappointment that the process isn't further along. But he said the study bill was a positive step, and he applauded legislative leaders for looking at the bill. ``We're making progress,'' McCombs said. ``I wish it was on a faster track, but we're making process. We do the best we can to present the issues to all the lea

-- Mark (Karch, April 03, 2001

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