Vikings Announce Team Captains

Cousins in Comeback
Aug 20, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Familiar faces highlighted the Minnesota Vikings choices for 2022 captains as the team unsurprisingly leaned into its veteran leadership.

New head coach Kevin O’Connell tabbed eight men for captainship:

  • Dalvin Cook (RB)
  • Kirk Cousins (QB)
  • C.J. Ham (FB)
  • Eric Kendricks (LB)
  • Brian O’Neill (RT)
  • Patrick Peterson (CB)
  • Harrison Smith (S)
  • Adam Thielen (WR)

An in tweet form:

While the surprises were minimal for the players chosen, the team’s best player, Justin Jefferson, was not on the list. This is likely due to an experience criteria as Jefferson enters Year 3 in 2022.

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Jul 28, 2022; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Patrick Peterson. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Still, Jefferson is the undisputed face of the franchise and will assuredly gain the Captain title soon, probably in 2023. The other captains are rife with experience, leaving O’Neill as the least experienced player on the list. O’Neill was drafted in 2018 and has anchored an otherwise bad pass-protecting Vikings offensive line since.

Cousins is no surprise because if a team invests $35 million per season into a QB1, well, he better be a team captain. During the Mike Zimmer era, Cousins’ foremost job was handing the football to Cook, who also earned the captain badge. Cook is second in the NFL in the last three seasons for yards from scrimmage behind only Derrick Henry.

Ham, a fullback, has been with the organization since 2017 and earned captain wings for special team duty. Mr. Minnesota himself, Adam Thielen, joined the Vikings in 2013 as an undrafted free agent with a tale told around the world ever since.

Nov 16, 2020; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen. Mandatory Credit: Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports.

On defense, Minnesota tabbed three players. Smith is the longest-tenured player on the roster, drafted by former general manager Rick Spielman in 2012. He’s dominated for 10 years. Kendricks, a linebacker, encountered a down year by his standards in 2021 but will now patrol the middle of the defense for the first time in his career without Anthony Barr to his side.

Finally, the “newest” Viking, Peterson, brings 12 years of experience to the Vikings cornerback room. Peterson was also a free agent back in March and could have signed anywhere in the NFL. Yet, he chose the Vikings for their “stacked” roster.

The Vikings take on the Green Bay Packers this Sunday — with all eight captains healthy — at U.S. Bank Stadium.


Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).

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