This is the story that has everything: America’s favorite sport, the intrinsic connections that makes us love these silly games, a venerable tradition, some hardball business negotiations and — most importantly — a crazed, bearded man on a purple motorcycle.

This is the ballad of Ragnar the Viking

For the past 21 years, Ragnar — burly, bearded, tatted, horn-helmeted, actually named Joe Juranitch — has climbed aboard his purple motorcycle to lead the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings onto the field before home games

“When you see me coming out a tunnel, it looks like I should be in a mental hospital,” he once told the local paper. (He also told the paper that he used to compete in events in which men see who can shave their beards the fastest using only axes.) Read more…

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