Vikings ‘Breakout’ Candidate Gaining More and More Steam

Dec 4, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings safety Camryn Bynum (24) reacts with safety Josh Metellus (44) after an interception late during the fourth quarter off New York Jets quarterback Mike White (not pictured) at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings 2023 offseason hasn’t even hit training camp yet, but Josh Metellus is gaining momentum as a crucial contributor.

Enthusiasm is pouring in regarding the 25-year-old from all angles.

Vikings’ Breakout’ Candidate Gaining More and More Steam

The latest edition came from The Athletic when it defined ‘breakout’ players from each NFL team. Metellus was the guy for Minnesota, and the opinion matches what general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and others have mentioned about Metellus all offseason.

Candidate Gaining
Nov 14, 2021; Inglewood, California, USA; Minnesota Vikings safety Josh Metellus (44) warms up before the game against the Los Angeles Chargers at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports.

The Athletic’s Alec Lewis tabbed Metellus as the Vikings budding breakout personality last week and explained, “The Vikings have a potential Hall of Fame safety in Harrison Smith. They also selected safety Lewis Cine in the first round of the 2022 draft. So, where does Metellus fit in? Well, if this spring was any indication, the short answer is everywhere.”

Metellus played all 17 games in 2022, his third season as a pro, and was featured on 258 defensive snaps.

The Vikings Have a Brand
Oct 2, 2022; London, United Kingdom; Minnesota Vikings safety Josh Metellus (44) during the NFL International Series game at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter van den Berg-USA TODAY Sports

“Think broadly about past New England Patriots defenses and how Bill Belichick — and disciple Brian Flores — used defensive backs. Patrick Chung played a quasi-linebacker spot. He blitzed when needed. He manned the middle of the field. He played pivotal roles in the team’s dime packages. Metellus seems destined for that role in Flores’ Vikings defense,” Lewis continued.

Metellus performed wonderfully last year, fetching an 85.1 grade from Pro Football Focus and holding down Minnesota’s special teams operations. And if all goes according to plan for the 25-year-old, Metellus could surpass his 258 defensive snaps played in 2022.

Sep 19, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Minnesota Vikings safety Josh Metellus (44) prior to the game against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Billy Hardiman-USA TODAY Sports.

Lewis concluded about Metellus’ impending breakout, “He has the size at 5-foot-11 and 207 pounds. He also has the acumen, having been awarded team captain honors late last season. Expect Metellus to play often and occupy a pivotal position in the new-look defense.”

And this fervor on Metellus is not new. In June, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah was asked on The Season with Peter Schrager podcast by NFL Network’s Peter Schrager about the Vikings’ unsung hero,’ and he immediately dropped Metellus’ name, “He’s a safety, and he’ll play some more this year, so I think you’ll see the stuff that we’ve seen. He was a special teams stalwart last year, team-captain type. I was in the team meeting room later in the season after [Brian O’Neill] got hurt, [Metellus] was given team captain.”

Feb 28, 2020; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Michigan defensive back Josh Metellus (DB53) speaks to the media during the 2020 NFL Combine in the Indianapolis Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports.

“You can feel when somebody’s teammates really love them, really appreciate them, and really want to follow them into battle, and he’s one of those guys. He’s everything that the Minnesota Vikings are about, and I think people are really going to appreciate that more this season,” Adofo-Mensah continued.

About a month ago, ESPN identified a ‘standout’ player from each team this offseason, and — you guessed it — that guy was Metellus for Minnesota.

Now, Metellus actually has to arrive at training camp and in the preseason to back up all the pizazz about his fourth season. He’ll battle Camryn Bynum and Lewis Cine for a starter’s job in the next six weeks. Yet, according to the team’s front office and multiple media outlets, Metellus could be on tap for an enhanced defensive role no matter what.

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 Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

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