His name is Ragnar and he has ridden his motorcycle to work for more than 20 years. Well, at work we should say.
But the beloved Minnesota Vikings mascot was nowhere to be found at the team’s season opener against the Detroit Lions and apparently has had his contract run out after the two sides could not come to an agreement on a new deal.
(Damned offset language!)
Actually, it was over — no shocker — money. Associated Press is reporting that Ragnar, who has been whipping Vikings fans into a Nordic frenzy at home games since 1994, was seeking $20,000 per game over the next 10 years. Sparing you the math, that would be a total of $1.6 million for regular-season games, and $2 million if preseason games are considered.
The Vikings appear to have balked at his demands and wished him luck plying his trade for another local sports franchise. Ragnar made about $1,500 a game last season, per the report. That’s quite the pay bump he wanted.
Joe Juranitch, the man who portrays the hirsute biker with horned helmet posted a somewhat sad picture on Facebook (though also a bit scary, wielding a well-sharpened Vikings halberd) of himself watching Sunday’s Vikings game at home in full Ragnar regalia.
"It doesn't feel right sitting at home," his message read. "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."
The Vikings issued a statement of their own on Ragnar, who was not an official mascot of the team — unlike Viktor, who is and has been since 2007 — and was an independent contractor.
“The Vikings greatly appreciate what Ragnar has meant to the organization and to the fans over the last two decades,” the statement read. “We intend to honor his 21 seasons on the field during a 2015 Vikings home game and we will welcome him to future ceremonial events. We will always consider Ragnar an important part of Vikings history.”
Just not a part of the team’s future. An online petition was started to restore the Ragnar, but it’s not clear if Ragnar will ride his purple bike again, at least not for Vikings money.
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