NFL mascot sacked over money dispute

(KARE)  In the White Bear Lake garage belonging to Hub Meeds is a box containing the original Minnesota Vikings mascot costume.

From 1970 to 1992 — Hub was the Minnesota Viking, traveling with the team and pumping up the crowd at three Super Bowls.

“Been fun through the years,” he said.

And he did it, for little to no pay.

“I felt it wasn’t right to try and negotiate a big contract or anything. If they wanted to offer me money, then I took it. But otherwise, I felt I’m doing a service to fans, mostly,” Meeds said.

Hub says for the final 9 years of his service, he made about $3,000 a season.

His successor – Joe Juranitch – better known as Ragnar – reportedly made $1500 per home game. Ragnar is now off the job after a contract holdout.

“This is the first contract negotiation I’ve ever covered involving a mascot. And hopefully it’ll be one of the last,” said Associated Press reporter Jon Krawczynski.

A source told Krawczynski that Ragnar was negotiating with the Vikings during the preseason — and asked for $20,000 per game.

“I think a lot of fans were in Ragnar’s corner when it first came out that he wouldn’t be coming back, but when the truth came out about the gravity of his demands, I think it led some people to have some understanding on the Vikings’ part,” Krawczynski said.

According to multiple online sources – official NFL Mascots like Viktor the VIking make between $23,000 and $60,000 a year. Ragnar is an independent contractor.

“I wouldn’t have asked for the money. I didn’t think he should,” Meeds said.

This 81-year-old mascot pioneer sees the job as one not worth losing over money.

“I enjoyed my time as a Viking. I would have thought he would have and not complained about it,” Meeds said.

He’s afraid Ragnar has squandered his rare opportunity.

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