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  1. #1
    singersp's Avatar
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    The greatest exorcism in Minnesota Vikings history

    [size=18px]The greatest exorcism in Minnesota Vikings history [/size]

    The 2005 Vikings season will be remembered as the end of the Red McCombs era

    Zach Koenig
    Sports Editor


    When sports fans ponder the 2005 Minnesota Vikings, they will see a promising group lost in a boat scandal, Culpepper's magically exploding right knee, or Mike Tice's ticket scalping. What actually occurred, however, was the greatest exorcism ever performed in Minnesota: ousting Red McCombs.

    During the early portion of the new millennium, the most hated figure in Minnesota sports was Twins owner Carl Pohlad. By refusing to pay the money necessary to field a competitive team and exhorting little effort to save the Twins from MLB's contraction scheme in 2002, Carl was hated by everyone who set foot in the Metrodome. Little did the fans know that the real threat to Minnesota was right under their noses...

    For the greater part of the 1990s, the Minnesota Vikings were run by a conglomeration of ten different owners. The team was always competitive, yet never had enough talent for a Super Bowl run. As a result, the fan base from the Bud Grant era had begun to fade, resulting in empty seats and TV blackouts. Following the 1997 season, where the Vikes were bounced from the playoffs once again, the owners conglomerate decided to put the team up for sale. Author Tom Clancy's offer fell through due to lack of financing, so the team went to San Antonio business man P.J. "Red" McCombs for $246 million. Within a few short weeks of his purchase, McCombs' fortune was dropped onto his lap in the form of one player. That player, of course, was Randy Moss.

    The Vikings' gamble on Moss in the '98 draft paid off big, finally putting the team over its hump of mediocrity. While Moss carried the team on his back for the next two or three years, McCombs sat back and enjoyed the ride (occasionally shouting "Purple Pride!" and waving little purple flags). The fans were happy because the team was winning and profits were rolling in due to increased attendance and sales of #84 jerseys. The Vikings never won the Lombardi Trophy, but were competitive enough to be in the running in '98 and '99. All seemed well in Vikingland.

    In 2000, Red McCombs was given another gift in quarterback Daunte Culpepper. With the electric rookie having a Pro Bowl season and lighting up the scoreboard with his connections to Randy Moss and Cris Carter, the Vikings once again turned a tremendous profit and filled the Metrodome each home contest. Yet, throughout that 2000 season, it seemed as if the Vikings needed to score more points than ever to win games, never being able to beat opponents with good defensive play. No matter, though, because the team finished 11-5 and made it to the NFC Championship game, right?

    In Red McCombs' first three years of ownership, the Vikings had done incredibly well in terms of on-field performance and the financial bottom line. Two appearances ('98 and '00) in the NFC Championship Game seemed to bode well for the future of the organization. However, during those three seasons, Red McCombs did little to upgrade the team via free agents or trades. Though glossed over because the team was experiencing such success, the defense was rapidly disintegrating. Players like Orlando Thomas, Ed McDaniel, John Randle, Dwayne Rudd, and Robert Griffith, who were developed by Dennis Green in the mid-to-late 1990s, were either sent elsewhere or became too old to compete. No experienced players were brought in to replace them, with McCombs opting to spend his pennies on such disasters as Wasswa Serwanga, Robert Tate, and Keith Thibodeaux. As for the offense, only Culpepper and Moss (draft picks) were untouchable. No quality players were gained while Robert Smith retired, the receiving corps was thinned by the loss of Cris Carter, and the best offensive line in football departed one player at a time.

    Thus, in 2001, the Vikings experience a complete collapse. The defense finally started giving up more points than the offense could score, Randy Moss played only when he wanted to play, and Cris Carter thought he could out-coach Dennis Green, resulting in a 5-11 finish. While most organizations would be furious at this kind of result, McCombs was handed another free pass, due to the cyclical nature of today's NFL. The Vikings looked to be entering a rebuilding mode, but with McCombs at the helm they were, in reality, stalled out.

    For the 2002 season, a new head coach (Mike Tice) was brought in to provide a more aggressive attitude to the team (as well as being the cheapest option available). During that season, Tice proved he had much to learn about coaching in the NFL (his aggressiveness leading to pulled hamstrings while working out with his players). His 6-10 record in '02, though, was actually quite amazing considering the talent level he was working with. The wide receivers after Randy Moss were D'Wayne Bates and Derrick Alexander, the running back was rookie Michael Bennett, and the kicker was Doug Brien (specializing in missing extra point tries). Wallowing around on the other side of the ball were such names as Patrick Chukwurah, Henri Crockett, O.J. Santiago and, my personal favorite, Anthony Midget.

    In the subsequent seasons, 2003 and 2004, the Vikings continued to be hamstrung by McCombs' penny-pinching. The general Minnesotan public was catching on to 'ole Red at this point, but every time they called him out he threatened to pack up the team and move to San Antonio. Despite playing under such financial constraints (constantly operating $20-30 million under the salary cap), the Vikings managed to be fairly competitive both seasons. Had cornerback Denard Walker decided not to push Cardinal wide receiver Nate Poole out of the end zone, the Vikes may have made the playoffs both seasons. In a playoff loss to Philadelphia in 2004, however, it became painfully obvious that the Vikings could not contend with the big spenders of the NFL.

    In the '04-'05 off-season, Red McCombs finally decided to flee town with his loot. When he sold the team to Ziggy Wilf for $625 million, his profits totaled about $379 million. In the ultimate of ironies, McCombs' last hurrah was trading Randy Moss (his meal ticket) to the Oakland Raiders for a draft pick and an injured linebacker.

    Under the Wilf ownership, the purse strings were finally loosened and talented free agents such as Darren Sharper, Sam Cowart, Pat Williams, and Travis Taylor were brought in. The defense was much improved, but it was too late to save the once unstoppable offense the Vikings had boasted for nearly a decade and the team sputtered to a 9-7 finish with no playoff berth. Head coach Mike Tice (who had guided a defense-less team to a 32-33 record in his tenure) was let go following the final game of the season.

    Though during the Red McCombs era (1998-2004, R.I.P.) the Vikings posted a 64-48 record, the burning "What if?" questions are what continue to haunt Vikings fans. What if Red had spent money to improve the defense? What if he had hired an NFL-ready head coach in 2002? What would the '05 season have looked like if he hadn't left the offense in shambles? Would the Vikings have some hardware in the trophy case if any of those things had taken place? The sad thing is, it is too late to ever know.

    Of course, there was one good thing about the McCombs era (besides it ending): It doesn't make old Carl Pohlad look so bad, does it?

    http://www.mrs.umn.edu/register/article.php?volume=18&issue=13&section=sports&inde x=0

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  2. #2
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    Re: The greatest exorcism in Minnesota Vikings history

    i like that article... good bye mccombs...may you go blind and have a retarded guide dog.

  3. #3
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    Re: The greatest exorcism in Minnesota Vikings history

    im just glad redneck is gone i hate that man, if you want to call him a man
    I don t buy Wisconsin cheese.

  4. #4
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    Re: The greatest exorcism in Minnesota Vikings history

    Wow!!! Never knew things were that bad. Glad I found this site to be kept up to date and to get information like this.

    Hey Red!!!! ottytrain2: :thebirdman: :violent3: :angry5:


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  5. #5
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    Re: The greatest exorcism in Minnesota Vikings history

    Polad is still the worst owner in MN sports history! Red never threatend to move the team that is fiction. I give Red credit for finally filling the dump, he was a penny pincher, but every owner except glenn taylor and zigy(for now) has been a penny pincher. Has anyone noticed how low the payroll is for the wild. One of pro sports most profitble teams? Blast McCombs for the last 2 years of ownership, but don't make others look better for it. Polad is a cheep old basterd, the worst owner ever in MN sports. The wild ownership is cheep, refusing to put a decent team on the ice. The only reason they both get credit is because they "are one of us". Get over it, if you haven't looked around lately this state has become more backwords than mississippi. I admit I wasn't thrilled with McCombs the last few years, I did understand the fact the metrodome is a pile, why invest money when you are going to loose as much as he did year in and year out. The metrodome is the problem here not the owner or previous.
    Oh to the "not my money" crew when talking about stadiums. Nothing from your paycheck will be taxed, your property will not be taxed, the only thing taxed is when you purchase something, and that tax is a fraction of a penny.
    You republican whore!

  6. #6
    gregair13's Avatar
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    Re: The greatest exorcism in Minnesota Vikings history

    thats a great article. one of the few i actually read the whole thing. but without that 5-11 record, we wouldnt have culpepper. now there is something to think about.

    Cris Carter thought he could out-coach Dennis Green
    and he probably could.
    We're bringing purple back.

  7. #7
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    Re: The greatest exorcism in Minnesota Vikings history

    In Red McCombs' first three years of ownership, the Vikings had done incredibly well in terms of on-field performance and the financial bottom line. Two appearances ('98 and '00) in the NFC Championship Game seemed to bode well for the future of the organization. However, during those three seasons, Red McCombs did little to upgrade the team via free agents or trades. Though glossed over because the team was experiencing such success, the defense was rapidly disintegrating. Players like Orlando Thomas, Ed McDaniel, John Randle, Dwayne Rudd, and Robert Griffith, who were developed by Dennis Green in the mid-to-late 1990s, were either sent elsewhere or became too old to compete. No experienced players were brought in to replace them, with McCombs opting to spend his pennies on such disasters as Wasswa Serwanga, Robert Tate, and Keith Thibodeaux. As for the offense, only Culpepper and Moss (draft picks) were untouchable. No quality players were gained while Robert Smith retired, the receiving corps was thinned by the loss of Cris Carter, and the best offensive line in football departed one player at a time.
    That is so true!

    He just let everyone walk and didn't replace them. Unwilling to pay them, especailly the O line. McDaniels had a few good years left. Stuessie did hold a bit but gets the job done. Dixon would have done a better job this year than what we had.

    Oh well!

  8. #8
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    Re: The greatest exorcism in Minnesota Vikings history

    We WILL get our Championships!!! Then this will all just be a bad dream!
    BANNED OR DEAD...I'LL TAKE EITHER ONE

  9. #9
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    Re: The greatest exorcism in Minnesota Vikings history

    "cajunvike" wrote:
    We WILL get our Championships!!! Then this will all just be a bad dream!
    I sure hope so!
    ;-)

  10. #10
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    Re: The greatest exorcism in Minnesota Vikings history

    Well said Cajun!!!!


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