Joe Juranitch – better known as Ragnar, the Vikings’ mascot – dropped by CBS Sports Radio on Tuesday to discuss his future with the organization.
Juranitch, the Vikings’ mascot since the mid-1990s, had been making roughly $1,500 a game for his services but reportedly requested a hefty raise: $20,000 a game. That would be $1.6 million over 10 years.
Is that true? Well, not quite.
“Those numbers were based on them telling me my role was going to be limited from here on out,” Juranitch clarified on Gio and Jones. “They were basically going to retire me. Now based on that, they said they were going to bring me back for one or two games a season. So based on that, I don’t think that that was outrageous. I think that was more than fair. . . . For one or two games, (I) would have (wanted) the figure that’s out there. But keep in mind they told me they were going to bring me back for one or two games. Now when you do 10 games at $15,000, how much is that? Quick, Vikings don’t add.”
“Okay, so did I ever think I was going to get that amount of money? Absolutely not,” Juranitch said. “If they had a heart change and said okay, we want to bring you back for all 10 games, okay, I guess we have to readjust. If you want to pay that, all right. But that’s not what it was based on. It was based on one to two games – special games, like a playoff. Well, when is the last time we’ve been to a playoff game?”
That would be 2012.
“So knowing that, if they’re going to bring me back one or two games, and if we don’t make the playoffs, guess what that leaves me with? That leaves me with one game,” Juranitch said. “What you got to remember is I own my rights. I own my likeness. I trademarked it. It’s a brand that I’ve built up for how many years. So do I think one game at that price was outlandish? No. Do I think ($20,000) a game (for 10 games a year) is a little steep? Yeah. But there’s no way I knew we were going to settle for that. . . . If they’re going to use me for all 10 games and they’re going to pay me $20,000 (a game), great. But to me, that would be a little asinine.”
Juranitch was asked what his duties at a game typically entail.
“My day starts on a Saturday,” he said. “I drive 260 miles away. I live up by the Canadian border, so I leave on a late Saturday morning, head down to Minnesota. Me and my sweety do a little shopping and kind of screw around on the way down. By Sunday morning, I am up at a restaurant eating and I am at the stadium by 10. Then I get dressed and my day starts, and it does not stop until 4 o’clock.”
Juranitch said he is “an entertainer” once he is in the stadium. He entertains the crowd, visits different suites, signs autographs and takes pictures with fans.
Juranitch hopes to return to games as Ragnar as soon as possible.
“They haven’t told me that we’re done,” he said. “The only thing I’ve heard is what has been written in the paper and what’s being reported. Do I still think there’s hope out there? Definitely.”