Tom Clancy, the espionage and military novelist who died Wednesday, flirted with buying the Minnesota Vikings in the late 1990s.

In 1998, the NFL disapproved of the team’s splintered ownership structure and was pushing for the team to be sold.

Up stepped Clancy at a big news conference at the Minneapolis Club, with lots of enthusiasm, star appeal and a pledge to keep the team in Minnesota.

However, he didn’t have enough money to back up his $200 million bid and withdrew his offer after a few months.

That provided an opening to Texan Red McCombs, who bought the Vikings and later sold the team to the Wilfs.