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Vikings drop mascot Ragnar after he reportedly asks for $20,000 a game

Ragnar the Viking rides onto the field before a Minnesota Vikings game in 2012.

Ragnar the Viking rides onto the field before a Minnesota Vikings game in 2012.

(Charlie Neibergall / Associated Press)

For more than two decades, Ragnar the Viking got Minnesota football stirred into a frenzy with his motorcycle-riding, endzone-dancing antics. According to his website, he was the only NFL mascot who appeared as an actual human.

It turns out maybe Ragnar is a little too human.

The Vikings have cut ties with their mascot of 21 seasons, saying in a statement Monday that the team’s contract with Joe Juranitch, the man who played Ragnar, ran out during the off-season and the two sides have “not been able to reach an agreement on his role with the team moving forward.”

According to multiple media reports, Juranitch was asking for a 10-year contract that paid him $20,000 a game. That comes out to $1.6 million for eight home games per season, and $2 million if counting preseason games. He had been making about $1,500 a game as an independent contractor.

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In other words, Ragnar might have gotten a bit too greedy. Well, he’s only human.

He showed that human side Sunday on Facebook (yes, even Vikings use social media), posting a photo of himself all decked out in his fur and helmet while watching the Vikings game on TV ... and looking very sad.

“It doesn’t feel right sitting at home,” he wrote. “This is not by my choice...I don’t make those decisions..At this point it was made for me. I miss all my fans and your support ...let’s all stay positive as we move forward.”

Multiple fans posted messages of support on the page. A change.org petition calling for the Vikings to reinstate Ragnar has gotten more than 9,400 signatures.

The Vikings said in their statement that they plan on honoring their former mascot in an on-field ceremony sometime this season and welcome him back for ceremonial events.

“The Vikings greatly appreciate what Ragnar has meant to the organization and to the fans over the last two decades,” the team said. “We will always consider Ragnar an important part of Vikings history.”


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