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Something was noticeably different when the Minnesota Vikings emerged from the TCF Bank Stadium tunnel on Sunday.  The bearded, long-haired, fur-clad man who’d rode a motorcycle out of the tunnel at Vikings home games for more than 20 years was no longer there. The team released a statement Monday evening saying it had parted ways with “Ragnar.”

Joe Juranitch, the Ely, Minnesota native who’d worked as Ragnar (the Vikings’ unofficial “human mascot”) since 1994 contract with the team had expired before the season.  According to a person with knowledge of the situation, he was looking to become a six-figure mascot: he wanted $20,000 per game in a new deal, up from the roughly $1,500 per game he was making in his old deal as an independent contractor.

He posted a photo on his Facebook page sitting at home in his fur and Viking helmet, watching the game on TV and expressing his disappoint.  Hundreds of fans left comments saying how much they’d missed him and cursing the Vikings for letting him go, but others denounced him for wanting for such a huge pay increase.

*photos in gallery above*

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source: ESPN