DULUTH (AP) -- Joe Juranitch wants the world to know there is more to Ragnar the Viking than the ax-wielding warrior in animal skins that incites the crowd at Minnesota Vikings games.
Juranitch, who has played the Vikings' official mascot for the past eight years, wants people to know about his kinder, gentler side. A side that sells licensed plush dolls and bobbleheads; one that will appear on children's television.
Juranitch, 40, has found a partner in Duluth businessman Paul Lemenager, president of Rally Quest. Lemenager's company develops and markets novelties of all sorts, including its signature product -- the Rally Horn -- a molded plastic instrument that's proven popular with Vikings fans.
Although the Ragnar rag doll came out late this winter and hasn't gone into wide distribution, Lemenager said sales have already topped 1,000.
Juranitch, who lives in St. Louis Park, receives a cut of the profit for each Ragnar item sold. The suggested retail prices of the rag doll and bobblehead are $15 and $19, respectively. Both products are manufactured in China.
Juranitch had the foresight to trademark the Ragnar name four years ago. Already, he's earned more from merchandise sales than he did all last year as a mascot. Juranitch said the Vikings pay him $250 per game to work the crowd.
Jason Lee, manager of Fantastic Minnesota Sports at the Mall of America, said his store started carrying the Ragnar doll a few weeks ago and has sold 20 to 30 of them.
"They've done pretty well," Lee said. He plans to order more.
Juranitch knows from experience that Ragnar's popularity rests largely on something that's beyond his control: the performance of the Vikings on the field.
"I never touched the ball last season," he said. "But from what people yelled at me, you'd have thought I was the coach, the manager and the team."
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