Minnesota Vikings mascot Ragnar hopes to return to team
By Adam Carlson
It’s a little odd referring to a 54-year-old man who rides a motorcycle as a mascot, but many Minnesota Vikings fans have come to think of Ragnar as part of the team’s family. Sadly, that family was broken apart this offseason when the contract between the two parties expired and they were unable to come to an agreement on a new deal.
Since then, support for Ragnar among the Minnesota Vikings community has been very loud. The majority of fans that I’ve spoken to want their human mascot back and they want him back now. However, that might be more complicated than it sounds.
According to an article on ESPN’s website, the man who plays Ragnar, Joe Juranitch, was asked to put together a contract for the Minnesota Vikings going forward. Not being familiar with a lot of things, he had a friend help him piece something together. And it did NOT go well.
"“I was asked to put a contract together. I’m not a lawyer; I’m not an agent. I’m an entertainer. I had to ask a friend to help me put something together. This is what we put together, and it all blew up. I’m not ready to retire. The Vikings wanted me to retire and have a limited role moving forward. Am I ready to retire? I’m 54 years old. I feel like a 28-year-old. I don’t want to retire.”"
Oct 13, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings mascot Ragnar enters the field prior to the game against the Carolina Panthers at Mall of America Field at H.H.H. Metrodome. The Panthers defeated the Vikings 35-10. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
At 54, many folks would be ready to hang up their battle ax and call it a career. However, Ragnar is not one of those people. Fans still want to see him out there dancing to music by the Spice Girls and riding around on his purple motorcycle. From the sound of things, he’s hoping that the Minnesota Vikings will open things back up to negotiation.
"“It’s something they had me put together, and I have never, ever had to put a contract together. Did I make a mistake? Oh yeah. Did I? Yes. Can I clear that up next go-round? Yeah, I can. I haven’t heard back with any kind of proposal. I’m still hoping we’re going to.”"
The word on the street is that Ragnar’s contract that he and his friend drew up that would pay him $20,000 per game was supposed to be the beginning of a negotiation. They were hoping that they would eventually settle on a number much less than that, but like many folks when negotiating, his initial number might have caused the Minnesota Vikings to lose faith that an agreement could be reached.
"“I know we can come to an agreement. What that agreement looks like, I don’t know. Can we all come together and live happily ever after? I know we can. How can we make that happen? It’s about communication. It’s like a marriage: At some point, if you’re not communicating with your wife, you’re going to have to come together and resolve whatever the problem is.”"
As of right now, we don’t know if Ragnar will ever ride his motorcycle out the players’ entrance ever again. While there is a part of me that would miss seeing that and his crazy dancing, I do understand in the end that football is a business and they have to do what is best for the organization. If that means that Ragnar will no longer be under contract by the Minnesota Vikings, that’s okay. I’ll still be a fan. But it just won’t feel exactly the same.
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