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After Vastly Overplaying His Hand, Vikings Cut Ties With Longtime Mascot

After more than two decades of entertaining the crowd at Minnesota Vikings home games, the team has decided to let their human mascot, Ragnar, ride his motorcycle into the sunset. He will be absent from patrolling the sidelines and entertaining fans in the stands for the first time since 1993.

Based on comments Ragnar made on Facebook, initially it looked like the Vikings were unilaterally phasing him out. He received an outpouring of support from fans wishing him well and deriding the team for acting so capriciously.

Image via Facebook

Image via Facebook

“It doesn’t feel right sitting at home. 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.”

For their part, the Vikings didn’t do much to dispel the notion that Ragnar was just the latest casualty of corporate greed. When reached for comment by KARE, they issued the following statement:

“This offseason, Joe Juranitch’s (Ragnar) contract with the Vikings expired. Since then the team has had multiple conversations with Joe but has not been able to reach an agreement on his role with the team moving forward. The Vikings greatly appreciate what Ragnar has meant to the organization and to the fans over the last two decades. 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.”

But a follow up report by the Associated Press revealed that Vikings certainly weren’t the only ones being greedy, and that Ragnar may have seriously overplayed his hand. Jon Krawczynski tweeted out the mascot’s Viking-sized demands:

ESPN’s Ben Gosling accurately noted that Ragnar’s demands aren’t exceptionally unreasonable, given what some professional sports mascots are making these days. But while a few elite earners are earning six figures, the average salary is $25,000 annually.

Ragnar was demanding just a smidgen more:

Ragnar was asking for $20,000 per game over the next 10 years, a person with direct knowledge of the discussions told The Associated Press. Based on a home schedule that includes eight games per season, that would be $1.6 million over the life of the contract. It would increase to $2 million if preseason games were included. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the team does not publicly discuss contract negotiations. …

… Ragnar was an independent contractor and not an official member of the organization. Since 2007 he has shared the spotlight in Minnesota with Viktor, the team’s official mascot. Ragnar made about $1,500 a game last season.

Say what you will about Ragnar—the man has some stones. He may not have a job, but he’s obviously got quite a set on him, asking for a 93 percent raise and a 10-year contract.

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