While the rumors are still as tentative as Adrian Peterson's running game and Sam Bradford's knee prognosis, Justin Timberlake has taken the lead as the prospective Super Bowl halftime act for the big game taking place in Minneapolis on Feb. 4.
An unidentified source told Us Weekly that the ubiquitous 36-year-old pop icon — who was in hot water with the NFL 13 years ago when he literally pulled the Janet Jackson "wardrobe malfunction" — is close to signing on to helm the performance at U.S. Bank Stadium. Rumors also persist of Jay-Z joining the fun, following reports that the rap mogul turned down the offer, which the NFL in turn denied that he denied them.
Timberlake fits the bill of a halftime act to a T: a mainstream, relatively safe megastar (never mind his famous 2006 skit for "SNL") who is readying the follow-up to his last album, 2013's "The 20/20 Experience," and will likely launch a big tour once his new record is ready to drop.
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told the Star Tribune no decisions have been made on the halftime performer(s). In doing so, he managed to slip in a plug for the show's sponsor and throw off the rumor mill with what may be a subtle nod to talk of Taylor Swift also being a contender.
"Along with Pepsi, we know that we will put on a spectacular show," McCarthy said. "When it is time to announce her name we will do it. Or his name. Or their names."
Super Bowl halftime acts rarely have anything to do with the host city, but Timberlake does have loose ties to Minnesota via his wife, actress Jessica Biel, who was born in Ely. More tangentially, Timberlake might add local flavor in another way: He's a devout Prince fan, so let's hope his show pays tribute to the late Minneapolis legend (and greatest halftime act ever).
Staff writer Rochelle Olson contributed to this report.