Clancy and Vikings are a perfect fit

One week ago, in a dimly lit room, I whispered this truth to a trusted friend: Tom Clancy is going to buy the Minnesota Vikings.
How did I know this event — which was about as likely as some of the scenarios in Clancy’s best-selling novels — would come to fruition Tuesday? This excerpt from last week’s conversation should clear that up.
Friend: You think Tom Clancy, the novelist, is going to buy the Vikings? Do you want me to punch some sense into you now or later?
Me: Wait, wait. Hear me out. First of all, the man owns a minority interest in the Baltimore Orioles and tried to buy the New England Patriots four years ago. Those moves demonstrate a commitment to sports.
Friend: Yes, but Clancy lives in Baltimore and both of those teams, being on the East Coast, are more natural fits. Besides, I haven’t heard anything about Clancy in the local media. I say the new owner is either going to be Roger Headrick or this McCombs guy from San Antonio.
Me: East Coast, schmeast coast. It doesn’t matter where the team is — he wants to be an owner. The reason you haven’t heard anything about it is that he’s far too covert. Haven’t you ever read one of his books? There are all sorts of top-secret deals going on under the table. Clancy is far too smart for any of our simple minds.
Friend: You have completely lost it. This theory started out preposterous and has grown increasingly more unbelievable with your hardly supportive half-truths. You might as well say Bill Murray or Michael Jordan is going to buy the team. They’re rich, they’re entertainers and they like sports — which are the only minutely reasonable connections Clancy has to the Vikings.
Plain and simple, your idea that Clancy is going to buy the team is based on faulty logic and is completely out of left field.
Me: And that is exactly why it is so perfect.
Friend: I’ve decided to stop talking to you now.
Me: But listen — both of us have watched the Vikings for how many years now? Through all the successes and failures of the team, what is the one constant?
Friend: La la la la … you are talking and I am not listening.
Me: What is the one constant?
Friend: OK, the one constant. Let me think … Well, after having watched Vikings games, drafts and off-field policies this decade, I’d have to say the one thing that always stays the same is a lack of coherence.
Me: Would you say the Vikings have — to borrow your own words — used faulty logic and made decisions from out in left field?
Friend: Well, I …
Me: Think about it. The team’s consistently mediocre draft choices; the idea that mid-level free agents will make a top-level team; the lack of a person with football knowledge to run the operation; and, most importantly, the two-minute offense. All of those things are completely bizarre and irrational.
You tell me about Headrick and McCombs and I say, quite simply, they are too reasonable to be considered. Headrick makes too much sense because he already owns 10 percent of the team and operates as the president. McCombs owns the NBA’s Spurs, and wants to buy a football team and move it to San Antonio.
But Clancy is just a guy who writes books and happens to like sports. Perhaps another agenda will emerge, but as far as I can see he just wants to make an investment and own a team — something which is not so logical by ownership standards but makes perfect sense by Vikings’ standards. When he emerges to buy the team, it will make sense because it doesn’t make sense.
Friend (starting to catch on): As much as I love the Vikes, I have to agree with your ultimate thesis. I watched the playoffs, and I have to say a pack of yipping dogs could have barked out better clock management instructions than the Vikings’ coaching staff.
I’ll also concede the other points. This is a team that doesn’t make any sense. Clancy knows that as well, and that’s why he didn’t step forward. Maybe he is lying in the weeds, as you presume, ready to take over the reigns of this absurd franchise with a last-minute bid.
Assured that my friend was convinced, I ended the conversation. When the news broke Monday that Clancy had submitted a bid, we were in the vast minority that hardly batted an eye. When the sale was finalized Tuesday, not a word was spoken between us.
While others clamored about the implications of the sale — would Clancy open his pockets to free agents? Retain Dennis Green as coach? Hire someone to run the football operation? — I entertained no such speculation.
The situation was all at once so beautifully bizarre and perfectly right that the only thing I could do was laugh.

— Michael Rand is the sports editor at The Daily. He welcomes comments at [email protected]