Minnesota Vikings mascot Ragnar leaves after 21 years

Ragnar the Viking
Ragnar the Viking has been affiliated with Minnesota since 1994

Ragnar the Viking, much like his Scandinavian forefathers, is not a man to be trifled with.

A fearsome, bearded, beast of a man, Ragnar is a mascot for the NFL's Minnesota Vikings.

Or at least he was.

Ragnar and the Vikings have gone their separate ways after 21 years of pillaging side by side, with Associated Press reporting the two parties failed to agree terms on a new contract.external-link

Ragnar - whose real name is Joe Juranitch - used to maraud into the US Bank Stadium perched on a purple motorcycle.

But his days of striking fear into his enemies seem to be over, after he posted on his Viking Facebook pageexternal-link during Minnesota's opening home game with Detroit Lions on Sunday.

Ragnar the Viking
Ragnar used his Facebook page to post this picture of him watching Minnesota from home

"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."

The Vikings said they had "numerous conversations" with Juranitch before his departure.

The club added: "We intend to honour his 21 seasons on the field during a 2015 Vikings home game and we will welcome him to future ceremonial events."

Ragnar has found support from long-time fans, though, and more than 10,000 people have signed a petition calling for his reinstatement.

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Baseball writer Parker Hagerman suggested Minnesota will not struggle to find a replacement for Ragnar
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