Survey Says? Vikings Announce 8 Captains as 2023 Season Nears

NFL: Preseason-Arizona Cardinals at Minnesota Vikings
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Not too many surprises, but good confirmation nonetheless as the Vikings announce 8 captains for the season.

At a shared press conference with Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, Kevin O’Connell revealed who will be the team captains for the upcoming season. Take a look at who is on the list:

  • Kirk Cousins
  • Brian O’Neill
  • Justin Jefferson
  • C.J. Ham
  • Danielle Hunter
  • Harrison Smith
  • Jordan Hicks
  • Josh Metellus

For the most part, the captain selections are predictable enough. What’s more notable, perhaps, are some of the small insights that can be squeezed out of O’Connell’s words.

Vikings Announce 8 Captains for 2023

As strange as it may sound, Jefferson is possibly the most surprising inclusion on the list. Five of the names — Cousins, Ham, O’Neill, Smith, and Metellus — have been team captains for O’Connell and Adofo-Mensah. The new additions to the group are Jefferson, Hicks, and Hunter.

Aug 26, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) leaves the field before a game against the Arizona Cardinals at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

To be clear, Jefferson is very deserving of the honor. His elite on-field play is why everyone in the state of Minnesota loves him but his off-field approach is fantastic, as well. He has consistently responded to questions about his contract status by pointing to his broader goal of propelling Minnesota to a Super Bowl. Yes, he wants a large second contract — he has said so — but he has never taken his eye off the Lombardi. The GM and HC often affirm that Jefferson’s desire is to push the team forward toward that larger goal.

The surprise simply comes from the reality of him never getting the captaincy before and because he’s still quite young. Nevertheless, a well-earned distinction that simply functions as one more indicator of his massive importance to the Vikings organization.

Aug 26, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) reacts after a game against the Arizona Cardinals at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

According to O’Connell, the players made the QB a near-unanimous selection. The only one not to vote for Cousins was … Cousins: “Kirk Cousins once again was a unanimous vote getter, all but his own ballot.” The 35-year-old QB1 is well respected in Minnesota, so the “C” on his chest is far from surprising.

The insight about C.J. Ham was fascinating.

The head coach was sure to highlight both what the ballots said about the fullback as well as how the team responded to the news that Ham was again being put in a leadership role: “The votes say one thing and then it’s confirmed by the team’s reaction to C.J.” Apparently, Ham’s teammates were quick to make their support of the veteran known.

The Vikings 2022 Offense by the Numbers: After Week 15
Oct 10, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings fullback C.J. Ham (30) walks to the huddle against the Detroit Lions at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Blewett-USA TODAY Sports.

O’Connell spoke briefly about Metellus, someone who is very deserving of the distinction given how important he is to both the special teams and the defense. O’Connell revealed that it was Brian O’Neill who put in a request last season for Metellus to get a captaincy following the Achilles injury, a detail that demonstrates how much the right tackle thinks of the safety.

So, the team’s leaders are in place. With the T.J. Hockenson news dropping, the Vikings don’t have too many more items left on their to-do list. Adding another corner would be a welcome sight and extending Jefferson is a high-priority item. For the most part, though, the team is ready to roll.

The regular season gets going on September 10th when Baker Mayfield’s Bucs visit U.S. Bank Stadium.