Holler: Norseman gets a mid-life facelift

The Vikings logo has been altered, cleaning up his appearance in his mid-50s.

This week, Vikings season ticket-holders received the revamped logo of the classic Vikings Norseman head. As far as makeovers go, the side-by-side images have more in common with Hidden Pictures from Highlights magazine than a true before-and-after picture (at least the differences haven't been circled by a doctor's office patient before you saw it).

The new Norseman

The old Norseman

The changes aren't really all that pronounced. It makes one wonder whether it's Nike that wanted the changes to show that the Vikings jerseys with the new-and-improved Norseman logo are different. One would imagine the Nike swoosh would be enough to signal a variation. The changes are very subtle, but even the untrained eye can find minor differences. If anything, it looks like the Viking in question went to a quality, discreet plastic surgeon and had "a little work done." Shown side by side, the differences are a little more obvious. To summarize, the official changes are as follows:

The Horns – From all appearances, a shammy was put to the ivory and cleaned up what appeared to be predatory fish bite marks. Any Norseman worth his sand wants a clean horn and not a ratty looking one. The horns have also been streamlined to be a tad shorter. Mission accomplished. Now that's a horn any Norseman could be proud of.

The Horn Base – The business end of the horn was altered to more closely resemble the actual horn on the helmets Vikings players wear. Cosmetic surgery, if you will.

The Face Lift – The new-look Norseman has a more defined jaw line and there was some work done under the eye as well. Just a little maintenance work. Personally, some may contend a Fu Manchu 'stache may have been called for, not to mention some tweezing of what one can only expect would be a full-on front-view Unibrow. Yosemite Sam would recommend a good tweezing. Of all the changes, leaving a moustache that would clearly fall into his lutefisk could have (and perhaps should have) been altered more. Chicks don't dig Unibrows or old-timey moustaches. AT least his hair remains thick and luxurious. Whether the helmet is hiding a comb-over remains unclear and unstated.

The Gold Highlights – Heralded by its designers as being "brighter and less brassy" (I kid you not), the change was a little too subtle for me to notice, but I'm not an Extreme Makeover enthusiast. From my perspective, his hair seemed a bit "yellower."

The Braid – After all, the Norseman turns 53 this year. It's about time he trimmed that stuff back. Fans of Bill Brown or Dave Osborn would have championed the cause of having a "Butch," a "Flat Top," a "Buzz Cut" or a "High and Tight" and have long implored, "Get a haircut, hippie." While still full-bodied (a term a cosmetologist friend pointed out), he cut back on the length and number of twists in his braid – which one can only imagine has an identical twin on the other side of his head. He still looks like a roadie for Grand Funk Railroad or the bouncer at a leather bar that bikers don't frequent, but at least he's cutting back on the mane incrementally. He still has the "Business in Front, Party in Back" motif, but it's been dialed back a shade.

One of the changes that wasn't noted was the nose job. It has flattened out a bit. Any guy with golden braids that reviewers would refer to as "Cindy Brady meets Pipi Longstocking" is surely going to elicit the occasional mook who is willing to take a swing at him – explaining why the nose is a bit more flattened than in his younger days.

Believe it or not, the cosmetic surgery won't be unveiled all at once. According to the accompanying release, "this evolution will not happen overnight; fans can expect to see both versions of the logo during the transition into a new stadium, but the enhanced mark will be visible immediately" and "merchandise with the enhanced Norseman could be available as early as March."

It would appear the Vikings Norseman is going through a mid-life crisis. No word yet as to whether he will be seen cruising around town in a red sports car while Helga is at home or not, but he's lost his jowls, his hair is shortening (incrementally) and he is looking good as he tries to keep up appearances moving forward. For a man in his mid-50s, any help he can get from the airbrush is always appreciated.

John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.

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