Vikings Unsung Hero Signs Contract Extension

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers
Mark Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

It is contract extension season for the Minnesota Vikings who want to get the business aspect done before the season kicks off on Sunday when the team hosts the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. T.J. Hockenson reset the tight end market (if he hits all incentives), while Justin Jefferson is still waiting for his deal. In the meantime, the Vikings took care of a team captain.

Vikings Unsung Hero Signs Contract Extension

Vikings Breakout Hero Signs Contract Extension
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When the purple team announced their 2023 team captains, one name was a surprise to some. Safety and special teams ace Josh Metellus will be a team captain, a role he also had when Brian O’Neill went down with his injury last season. It shows how much his teammates and the organization value the 25-year-old.

But so does his new salary. General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah extended his contract for two more years, Adam Schefter reported on X: “The Vikings and safety Josh Metellus reached agreement on a two-year extension worth up to $13 million, including $6 million guaranteed, per source. The deal was confirmed by agents Drew Rosenhaus and Ryan Matha.”

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Metellus was in the final year of his four-year $3,259,118 rookie deal and set to hit free agency after the upcoming season. An extension is a win for both parties. The player has long-term security, important in case of injury and he doesn’t have to rely on other teams in free agency that might not value him as highly as the Vikes. From the Vikings side, they keep a key contributor on special teams, a leader in the locker room, and an up-and-coming player on the defense around for relatively cheap money.

The safety has been a big talking point all offseason, as multiple people in the Vikings organization have labeled him as this year’s breakout star.

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers
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Adofo-Mensah called him the ‘unsung hero‘ of the team in June: “Josh Metellus. 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 … 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.”

Metellus is the team’s Swiss army knife and new defensive coordinator Brian Flores will find ways to use him all over the field. He is a decent player in coverage which is why he will be used as a so-called big nickel, Metellus will line up as a slot cornerback and take on the matchup with some receivers or tight ends. His football IQ helps him with that.

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Fellow safety Harrison Smith said about his teammate in July: “You could see it when he first got here. He’s just a guy that no matter where you put him, he’s gonna do everything he can to be the best at that, whether it’s right guard on punt or safety or whatever. He’s a really smart guy and he’s an explosive player that can do a lot of things athletically. He loves the game. He could sit up there and run a meeting as a coach right now. He’s got it that well. I learn a lot from him. He knows more, a lot of times, than I do – so I’m trying to learn stuff from him, too.”

Flores runs a versatile defense that can adjust to whatever personnel and scheme the opposing offense has. And a guy like Metellus is a wonderful fit for that. Someone who can play various spots at a high level. When he had to step in for Smith for a couple of games in 2022, he did a phenomenal job and he is a wonderful special teams player.

While Smith and Camryn Bynum will start at the safety positions, Metellus will be on the field a lot in 2023. He is on the team for three more seasons, including the 2025 campaign. The move might indicate that he is a possible successor for the 34-year-old Smith, whose retirement is inevitable at some point.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt