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If the Vikings had to change their name…

... What would you choose?

With the Washington Racialslurs finally changing their name for the grossest reason (because they had no choice, from a financial perspective), and because as the Daily Norseman author who wrote the article I’m going to opine about (Christopher Gates) rightfully pointed out; there isn’t much else to talk about… What would/could/should the Vikings be called if they had to change their name for some reason.

Interesting question.

Again, there isn’t any sort of call from the Eye of Sauron-esque roving outrage on social media calling for the Vikings to change their name because of their propensity to, you know, basically Bill Cosby it up all over Europe. But, it’s mid-July and this has been a pretty dry off-season… So, let’s think of alternate names for our favorite football squad.

I do want to preface this by saying that I think the Vikings are the best named sports team in the world and they also have the best name-to-uniform ratio, as well.

It checks all the boxes. The name makes sense, for one, and is something relatively unique to the area. It also invokes a sense of pride and is also a reference to something that implies toughness and something to be feared.

To find a bad example of that, we actually only have to cross the Mississippi river to St. Paul, and the unfortunately named Wild. I remember vividly watching the live unveiling of the Wild’s name on TV back when they were a new entity and being profoundly disappointed.

They lowered this giant puck down from the ceiling of Aldrich arena in Maplewood (if I recall correctly), and at the time we knew what the options for the team were.

They were: Freeze, Northern Lights, Blue Ox, White Bears, Voyageurs and Wild.

Now, the Wild to me were the worst option of the bunch, something that apparently many people agree with me on as the Wild have been listed as high as 4th on the list of worst names in professional sports.

The reason why I think they’re bad is because they don’t check any of the above boxes. It isn’t specific to the region, it doesn’t invoke any sort of pride or imply toughness or fear. Sure, it makes sense, I guess (as every state has some wilderness).

But, “The Wild” is basically a vague concept, like naming the Vikings something like the “Minnesota Water”, the “Minneapolis Forest” or the “Upper Midwest Piece of Land”.

While some may disagree, I actually liked the “Blue Ox” the best. There is actually an article on another site stating that while The Wild is bad, it could’ve been worse because they could’ve been named that.

That’s nonsense and I’ll tell you why. I’ll let you guess and I’ll give you a clue by quoting the 90’s classic, Friday, starring Ice Cube and Chris Tucker.

NSFW Warning:

Babe the Blue Ox isn’t part of a legend specific to Minnesota, but it’s close and would help reinforce that Paul Bunyan is from Minnesota.

Because of the (mostly dead) rivalry between Minnesota and the other states (and parts of Canada) claiming that Bunyan and his trusty Ox, Babe, were from their state or province… There would be some implied pride… Amongst… the… 150 year old lumberjacks out there.

There also was a “professional” roller hockey team around that time that had that name and they had a really great logo.

Keep in mind this was done on a roller hockey budget

Compare that to the ManBearPig and the Christmas colors that the Wild ended up with, and you’ll see why I dislike that name (add to that the fact that they were very heavily connected to St. Paul, and you have yourself a rare hatred trifecta).

What can we learn about this when coming up with new names for the purple? Again. Boxes.

It has to be something specific to Minnesota that also invokes pride and fear while making sense. I’d take the Fighting Pike, but that too was already taken (this time by an Arena Football team).

RIP Fighting Pike, we hardly knew yee

The Minnesota Moose, also out…

Thanks to global warming this is the last moose in Minnesota

The Moose logo has a warm spit in my heart also, as it was immortalized by appearing in the background of one of my favorite movies ever, ‘Happy Gilmore’.

See if you can spot it…

Friends listen to ‘Endless Love in the Dark…’

What other animals represent Minnesota?

Loons? But they’re also unfortunately a synonym for crazy people and not something that strikes fear in anything outside of small to medium sized fish.

According to Wikipedia, the following animals are either representative of Minnesota and/or have been nominated for the state mammal:

Since 1971, the white-tailed deer has been proposed as the state mammal eight times. Other creatures proposed as representations of the state have included the northern leopard frog, the eastern timber wolf, the thirteen-lined ground squirrel, and the Blanding’s turtle.

I know what you’re thinking, the “Minnesota thirteen-lined ground squirrel” just rolls off the tongue?

That means that we might have to skip the animal route and go to the historical occupation or industry a la the Houston Oilers, the San Francisco 49ers, the Dallas Cowboys, the Texas Rangers, or the Texas Don’t Mess with Texas’ or the Texas We Clearly Love the Fact we are from Texases.

You ever notice that 99% of usernames online on Xbox Live, Playstation Plus or Nintendo We Exist Too reference Texas? Don’t mess with Texas?

Anyway.

What careers or industries are specific to Minnesota? Frost bite doctors? Something related to the Iron Range? The Minnesota Taconites? That could bring them a fortune from advertising Taco Bell’s 24 hour drive through?

That leaves myths, legends or general history (a la The New England Patriots, the Blue Ox or the Tennessee Titans).

According to Only in your State, the top six urban legends or myths in Minnesota are the Kensington Runestone, the Hairy Man of Vargas (lets put this in the maybe pile), Dead Man’s Trail, Grey Cloud Island, the Lake Pepeny Serpent and the Wendigo.

It’s not hard to see the winner there as the Wendigo is essentially like the Sasquatch’s bad ass cousin. It isn’t solely specific to Minny, but it’s something that reinforces our cold winters (which invokes weird pride), could have an awesome logo and mascot, and clearly is tough and scary AF.

Don’t believe me? Take a gander at what a Wendigo is supposed to look like:

Meth. Not even once.

The helmet could have three claw marks on each side, or the decapitated head of some guy named Gary who disappeared while going hunting alone that one time. Or, even better, not that. How about deer antlers on each side?

The green represents all the 3M chemicals in ohr respective bloodstreams

For colors they could go with essentially whiten on white for their home jerseys, and for their road uniform?

Some sort of white over dark brown on the jersey to represent their exposed rib cage, with brown pants all the way down to about 4-5 inches of dark black above their cleats (or essentially mandated black cleats for each player) to represent their hooves.

Now we’re cooking with gas!
What have I done?!?

Or, maybe we should just stick with the Vikings?

Let us know what name you’d choose in the comments!

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Joe Johnson

Joe Johnson started purplePTSD.com back in 2015 & purpleTERRITORYradio.com in 2019, and purchased VikingsTerritory.com before the 2017-18 season , used to write for VikingsJournal.com and is the host of the ’Morning Joes’ & ‘About the Labor’ Podcasts, as well. Follow on Twitter: @vtPTSD

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5 Comments

  1. The Washington Racialslurs? According to whom? You? Or other non-native Americans? That’s a ridiculous first line. Of all rags, the Washington Post (known for cooking polls) surveyed native Americans and virtually none of them were offended. They understand the intent projected as for bravery and pride. Only idiots such as yourself are brainwashed by the huge minority in the MSM to believe it’s somehow racist. It was NOT organically created as you allude to, this was not propagated by fans or anyone in the DC area outside a handful of useful idiots, ie Fedex and Nike.
    That all said, they’ll be coming for the Vikings. As sure as I’m writing this, they are cherry-picking historical facts to smear the name and get another scalp, so to speak. This is what the left does.

  2. According to common sense? Or failing that… The dictionary?

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Redskin

    I’m a pretty moderate person and I’ve heard about that poll.

    You might want to read this, namely the problem of self identification.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Washington_Redskins_name_opinion_polls

    I personally, for example, sell Duluth Eskimo gear in my store. Because Eskimo is about the same as Vikings except we never had Eskimo in Minnesota (you might be able to say we never had Vikings (Kensington, Mn may beg to differ) but it pertains to our Scandinavians.

    But, I still think that is different because it isn’t contemptuous like MERRIAM-WEBSTER said was the case in 1898.

    Also; I’ll just leave this here:

    The term “red-skin” was, in fact used in conjunction with scalp hunting in the 19th century. In 1863 a Winona, Minnesota, newspaper, the Daily Republican, printed an announcement: “The state reward for dead Indians has been increased to $200 for every red-skin sent to Purgatory. This sum is more than the dead bodies of all the Indians east of the Red River are worth.” A news story published by the Atchison Daily Champion in Atchison, Kansas, on October 9, 1885, tells of the settlers’ “hunt for redskins, with a view of obtaining their scalps”, worth $250.In his early career as the owner of a newspaper in South Dakota, L. Frank Baum wrote an editorial upon the death of Chief Sitting Bull in which he advocates the annihilation of all remaining Redskins in order to secure the safety of white settlers, and because “better that they die than live the miserable wretches that they are.”

  3. Preamble

    What is wrong with the word “redskin(s)” anyway? Why is it considered a racial slur, derogatory, offensive, etc.?

    Red?

    Is “redskin(s)” objectionable because of the word “red”? This is unlikely. Nancy Shoemaker, in her How Indians Got to Be Red, argues that by the mid 1720’s from Louisiana to South Carolina, Native Americans were claiming themselves to be red in the context of Native-European diplomacy. She claims that Europeans usually described Natives as “tawny” but not “red”. Also, there is considerable use of the word “red” by Natives in reference to themselves. For example, one of the plaintiffs who brought the original case against the Washington Redskins to the U.S. PTO, Vine Deloria, Jr., had written a book God is Red and was linked with the “Red Power” movement in the late 1960’s. Few object to the name “Oklahoma” even though it means “red people” in the Choctaw language. Besides, the adjectives “white” and “black” still describe groups with little offense.

    Skins?

    Judging by Skins, a movie directed by Chris Eyre, a Native American, about two Sioux brothers at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation or by the LA Skinfest Native American film festival there seems not to be much fuss about the word “skin”. Many Native Americans are on record calling themselves and each other by this term. Of course, that doesn’t mean they like non-Natives using the term that way (like the n-word) but it is evidence that the offense of “redskin(s)” does not seem to derive from the skin-part. Is “skins” just a shorten version of “redskins”?

    Redskins?

    It seems then that the offense is with the whole term. One common reason could be that this term refers to scalps and it is this connotation that renders the word “redskins” offensive. It is very telling that the two lead litigants in the cases brought against the NFL and the Washington Redskins have stated this redskins=bloody scalps theory. Suzan Harjo claims that the term “Redskins” “has despicable origins in the days of Indian bounty hunting in the 1600s and 1700s…[t]hus began the practice of paying bounties for the bloody red skins and scalps as evidence of Indian kill..” (Fighting Name-Calling: Challenging “Redskins” in Court” in Team Spirits: the Native American Mascots Controversy). Harjo’s case lost on appeal but the follow-up case, brought by Amanda Blackhorse also won (but awaits appeal). Blackhorse said on “Democracy Now”:

    The name itself actually dates back, you know, at the time when the Native American population was being exterminated, and bounty hunters were hired to kill Native American people. And so, you know, one could make a great living off of just killing Native American people. And there was a tier effect that was paid out. You know, the highest paid was for a Native American man and then a woman and then a child. And so, based off of that, there were news clippings and flyers and stuff that were posted up, asking people to go out to kill Indians and bring back the red skin. So, in order to show that they made their kill, they had to bring back a scalp or their skin. And so, that’s where the “Redskin” word has been kind of passed down. So, in our community, we do not use that word.

    Redskin does not mean Bloody Scalp

    If redskin did mean bloody scalp then it would be totally understandable that many would object to the Washington Redskins. The problem is that it does not. Ives Goddard has decisively shown that the origin of redskins was in reference to Native self-reference and not in bloody scalps. In fact, the only reference to the redskin=bloody scalp equation that I have seen is from a newspaper from Minnesota (Winona Republican)

    September 24, 1863September 24, 1863

    This was in response to the third of three General Orders made by the Minnesota Adjutant General (Oscar Malmros) in regard to bounties for Native kills. The first (Order 41, July 4, 1863) set up a scout team and rewarded $25 for “each scalp of a male Sioux delivered to this office.” The second (Order 44, July 20, 1863) rescinded the scalp requirement for “proper proofs”. Finally, the third (Order 60, Sept. 20, 1863) raised the reward for independent scouts to $200. (hence the newspaper article). A close reading of the newspaper however refutes the redskins=bloody scalp equation because you would not send a scalp to Purgatory since that would presumably be an earthly proof of kill. Hence, in the quote redskin was merely a synonym for Indian which occurs twice and is also used negatively. A desperate blogger responded to this argument by claiming that Purgatory refered to a park in Minnesota. Actually the park is in Minnetonka and no one would take scalps there and besides the order stated that the proofs had to be made at the office in St. Paul!

    Meaning is Use

    The lawyers for the NFL argued rightly in my view that the term “redskin(s)” itself is not necessarily negative and only acquires this negativity from its context. Since the history of Native Americans is so negative then we would expect word denoting Native Americans to connote negative meanings. But that is true with words like “Indian” too. They also argued that the secondary meaning of Redskin in the context of football has nullified any negative connotation that the term “redskin(s)” may have had. Words change meaning. Is it relevant to the debate if the negative connotation of redskins is based a faulty etymology? I kind of think it is.

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