Hub Meeds looked the part.
Wearing a "crummy" rented Vikings costume along with his brother-in-law Dan Jeans, an incredible portal — the player gate at Tulane Stadium before Super Bowl IV between Minnesota and Kansas City — opened for Meeds on Jan. 11, 1970.
"It was crazy. We walk by this gate, and the guy opens it up and lets us in, so we went straight down to the field," Meeds said. "There was nobody on the sidelines. We were there the whole game.
"I didn't use my ticket," he added. "I've still got it."
Although the Vikings didn't prevail, Meeds approached team leaders about becoming a permanent addition to the game-day atmosphere. He joined the team in an official capacity that fall and remained in his iconic role through 1992.
Meeds bolstered his look that featured a faux fur vest and a cow horn he bought in a St. Paul store and sanded down for his personal Gjallarhorn.
That shield of his? He cleverly fashioned it out of a children's sled.
And his sword? It was a prop that had been made in Germany, dating to 1888. Meeds became the owner for $26 via an auction.
Meeds became such a part of Vikings lore at Metropolitan Stadium that he was featured on the cover of the 1973 official team media guide. He also is included in a display from that era at the Minnesota Vikings Museum, which opened in 2018.
Whether the weather was sunny, rainy, windy, snowy or some Minnesota combination of all the above, Meeds added to the mystique of the Old Met.
He initially wore a fake beard before growing bushy whiskers. The current beard is more trim and gray but still iconic for generations of his fellow Vikings fans.
"I [shaved] one time, and I was sorry because I got invited out to New York to be on the To Tell the Truth show, and I was embarrassed," Meeds said during an interview after he was named one of the 60 Greatest Vikings Fans.
"All through the years, I had to leave [the beard] on because of calls for parades and such," Meeds said. "It was an honor, really, to get asked to do parades. I tried to not turn down anything and never charged too much."
Meeds helped enliven the atmosphere in the Metrodome, where the Vikings moved in 1982. Outdoor elements that became a home-field advantage under Hall of Fame Head Coach Bud Grant were replaced by crowd noise that often seemed capable of taking the inflatable roof off.
Meeds was invited back 10 years ago on Dec. 20, 2010, when the Vikings celebrated the 50 Greatest Vikings. A blizzard that collapsed the roof of the Metrodome caused the game against the Bears to move back to the elements at the University of Minnesota.
"It was a snowy, wet game. We had snow piled up all the way around the sides of the stadium. You couldn't even walk around," he said.
That game didn't go the Vikings way either, but Meeds again looked the part.