MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Red McCombs admittedly doesn't have any patience, and the Minnesota Vikings owner won't hide his disappointment.
With the production of stars Daunte Culpepper and Randy Moss this season.
With some of the decisions made by coach Mike Tice, his staff and the personnel department.
With his lack of significant progress toward a new stadium.
But McCombs, in an interview before Saturday's game against Miami, said he's seen things from his team this year that make him optimistic for much more success in the future and insisted Tice will return next season.
"We have some very good football players," McCombs said. "What we have to do is perform better as a team. That's the challenge."
The Vikings, who improved to 5-10 by beating the Dolphins 20-17, appear to be building some momentum for 2003 after two straight losing seasons. If things don't turn around soon, though, the owner will probably take some action.
"I don't really have any patience," McCombs said. "I didn't have patience five years ago when I came here. I don't believe there's a place for patience in this league. This is where you do it every day, every game, for the public. That's what they pay for. Patience is for amateurs."
McCombs also doesn't want to wait around for a new place to play. The Vikings, who were seeking funding for a joint stadium with the University of Minnesota, told the school the proposed site was too small. They've since been checking out other sites in the Twin Cities.
"We're as far away from it today as when I came here five years ago," said McCombs, who bought the team in 1998. "It surprises me greatly. I'm mostly surprised the business leadership in the state is not really locked into the significance of this issue."
McCombs put the team up for sale this summer, and although Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor has some interest, there isn't anything brewing.
"We don't have anything to report," McCombs said. "Nor would we until something of significance is announced."
The fact that McCombs is simultaneously disappointed by the stadium proceedings and looking for buyers is not a coincidence.
"You can never separate the issues," McCombs said.
Despite his frustrations, is this still fun for him?
"Very much so," McCombs said, insisting he hadn't thought about possibly visiting the Metrodome for the last time on Saturday. "It's been fun working with Mike this year, seeing Mike grow. I tried to prepare Mike, for being a head coach was different than anything he had ever done in football. Being a head coach is a year of decisions, not football strategy. It's taken most of the year, I think, for Mike to see that decisions go a long way as to whether you have a successful football team."
So has McCombs been happy with Tice's decisions?
"I think that it's been a learning process," McCombs said. "I really thought that we would be further along the curve with the management of the football team. On the other hand, I have to give Mike a lot of credit for picking up and seeing where decisions are made. I think he is on the way to being one of the better young coaches in the league.
"We will definitely bring him back to continue coaching."
McCombs is also adamant that the Vikings spend their free-agent money smarter. Most of the additions to this year's team haven't made much of an impact, and wide receiver Derrick Alexander -- whose season was ended by a knee injury -- was a big bust.
"We have to improve on the draft, and we have to improve on the players who are available and become available during the season," McCombs said, adding he has no plans to restructure the personnel department or hire a general manager.
Culpepper can become a free agent after the 2003 season, and the Vikings will likely begin contract-extension talks this summer.
"We see Daunte having a long career with the Vikings," McCombs said. "There's no reason why he wouldn't."
Culpepper's turnovers were a big reason why Minnesota struggled this year.
"I think that the record speaks for itself," McCombs said. "It's very disappointing. I would've expected a lot more from Daunte this year."
From Moss, too, who's headed back to the Pro Bowl despite some more distractions that included a night in jail in September for bumping a woman directing traffic with his car.
"Randy's play has been disappointing," McCombs said. "We see Randy as one of the handful of guys in the league who can break games open himself as no other player can. That just hasn't happened throughout the season.
"It's a function of everything. It wouldn't necessarily be Randy's fault. It's a function of the whole team. But the bottom line is, it hasn't happened. He's capable of very much more."
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.