What A Business Deal – Ole Haugsrud, The Duluth Eskimos, And The Minnesota Vikings

The NFL is a business… a big business.

It wasn’t always as huge as it is today, but the NFL was even a business back in the early days of the league. The Duluth Eskimos were one of the better teams of the 1920s, and they were owned by businessman Ole Haugsrud.

1927 was the last year of the Eskimos, and the team was a popular draw as it barnstormed around the Midwest playing no home games and showing off it’s player-coach and future Hall of Famer, Ernie Nevers. After the season, owner Ole Haugsrud was convinced to sell the team back to the NFL. He negotiated into the sale that he would be given right of first refusal should another NFL team ever be placed in Minnesota. In 1929, the Minneapolis Red Jackets were formed, but Haugsrud passed on becoming an owner. Three decades later, the league lured the ownership group of the Minnesota Vikings away from joining the AFL and convinced them to instead join the NFL. There was one problem. Ole Haugsrud was still around and this time he wanted back into football and exercised his option. He was allowed to buy a 10% interest in the Vikings and remained a part owner of the team until his death in 1976.

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