Ragnar and his "Vikings" gang will be back on History next year.

History announced on Tuesday (March 25) that "Vikings" has been renewed for a 10-episode third season, beginning production this summer and airing next year.

"'Vikings' has taken viewers by storm and has established itself as one of the most compelling, visually stunning dramas on television. With its large, passionate and loyal fan base, 'Vikings' has cemented History firmly in the scripted series genre, just as we are the leaders in reality television,” gloats History EVP and General Manager Dirk Hoogstra. "We are incredibly fortunate to have such an enormously talented cast and crew led by Michael Hirst whose intricately woven storylines vividly brings the unknown, epic world of these Norsemen to life. Season three promises to immerse viewers even deeper into the exploits of these fearless warriors who are willing to risk it all for conquest and power."

In its current second season, "Vikings" is averaging 3.4 million viewers, including 1.5 million in the 18-49 demographic. That's down somewhat steeply from the same point last season, though that's a total cheat since "Vikings" took full advantage of its post-"Bible" time slot in its initial run of episodes. "Vikings" also gets a solid DVR bump, rising to 5.1 million viewers and 2.5 million in the 18-49 demographic with Live+7 figures, which is what it sometimes takes to get an audience in the competitive Thursday 10 p.m. time period.

"Vikings" has six additional episodes remaining in this second season, with the finale set for May 1.

I can only assume that the announcement was meant to coincide with the end of the episodes sent to critics before the start of the season, because I have to remember to record Thursday's episode.

As Sepinwall and I have discussed several times on the podcast, "Vikings" continues to be a show with a solid sense of its own identity and very good execution within that identity. I don't think it's a "great" show in that "Breaking Bad"/"Mad Men"/"Game of Thrones" tier and I'm not sure if it's a very good show in that next "Americans"/"Hannibal"/"Good Wife" tier (all tiers are my own and shift daily), but it's a good show. The action is well handled, the photography is just beautiful and the cast is constantly surprising, with Travis Fimmel and Katheryn Winnick shining particularly. 

This season has featured a well-handled time jump, opening things up for Alexander Ludwig's New Bjorn, and introduced Linus Roache's Ecbert as an intriguing new adversary who really enjoys taking baths. With Ecbert and with the genuinely interesting Ragnar/Lagertha/Aslaug love triangle, I've felt like creator Michael Hirst has given the second season a cleaner through line and the storytelling has benefited. 

So good for "Vikings" getting a third season.

Your thoughts?