Ragnar hopes to work out contract and return to Vikings sideline

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Ragnar isn't ready to retire.

So five days after missing his first Vikings regular season home game in 21 years, Joe Juranitch – the longtime human mascot of the Minnesota Vikings – made the media rounds to explain his side of what went wrong.

The story came to light when Juranitch dressed as Ragnar posted a picture on Facebook of him watching the Vikings home opener on his own television instead of pacing the sidelines of TCF Bank Stadium.

Juranitch told the Star Tribune it was the Vikings who called him over the summer, telling him they wanted to retire the Ragnar character.

"I'm not ready to retire and I don't want to retire," Juranitch told the newspaper.

So Juranitch said he assumed they would work it out and he'd still have credentials to work the game.

But the Vikings say Ragnar's contract with the team expired, since then the team says they have had multiple talks with Juranitch, but hadn't been able to work anything out.

The controversy surrounding Ragnar's dismissal started gaining national attention after word got out that Juranitch had asked for a 10-year, $1.6 million contract to continue working Vikings games.

"I was asked to put a contract together," Juranitch told 1500 ESPN. "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."

Juranitch's initial offer came out to be about $20,000 per regular season home game – far more than the $1,500 per home game he reportedly made under his old deal.

Some fans have started a petition for the Vikings to bring Ragnar back. More than 11,000 have signed the petition at Change.org calling for Ragnar's return to the Vikings sideline.

Despite the impasse, Juranitch tells WCCO that he remains optimistic that something will be worked out.

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