The Minnesota Vikings have big plans for safety Josh Metellus this season, and that includes awarding the former sixth-round pick with a new contract.
Metellus agreed to a two-year, $13 million extension on Thursday, September 7, just days before the start of the 2023 season, according to his agents.
“The Vikings and safety Josh Metellus reached [an] agreement on a two-year extension worth up to $13 million, including $6 million guaranteed, per source,” ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on September 7.
Metellus, 25, was selected in the sixth round of the 2020 draft and worked his way up from a special teams player to a contributor on defense last season. Metellus clinched a Week 3 win over the Detroit Lions, snagging an interception with 11 seconds left in regulation to secure a 28-24 victory at home. It was his first start and interception of his career to cap an 11-tackle day. He went on to start two more games in 2022, playing 258 total snaps on defense.
Metellus is expected to have a larger role in Brian Flores’ defense this season. He was named an interim team captain late last season when Brian O’Neill was placed on injured reserve. Metellus was voted a team captain for the 2023 season as well.
Josh Metellus Named Unsung Hero of Vikings by GM
Plenty of buzz surrounded Vikings training camp but a player that continued to be brought up was Metellus.
Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah joined Peter Schrager’s podcast and was asked about an “unsung hero” Vikings fans should keep their eyes on.
Adofo-Mensah did not have to think: it was Josh Metellus.
“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, a team-captain type,” Adofo-Mensah said, referring to Metellus being named an interim team captain last season, per Vikings.com. “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,” he added.
Harrison Smith Heaps Praise Onto Fellow Vikings S Josh Metellus
Metellus has had the opportunity to learn from one of the game’s greats in fellow safety Harrison Smith, who noted Metellus’ devoted work ethic has always translated to the field.
“Whether it’s right guard on punt [team], or safety, or whatever. He’s a really smart guy, and he’s an explosive player and can do a lot of things athletically,” Smith said, per Vikings.com. “I just think his confidence has grown over the years as he’s made plays at pretty much every spot he’s ever been put at. And not just in training camp or at practice – it’s the same thing on game day. It’s really fun to watch.
“It’s fun to be around guys like that. He loves the game, and he could sit up there and run a meeting as a coach right now. He’s got it that well,” Smith added. “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. He’s great to be around, and it’s a lot of fun to watch him.”
Metellus admitted that shortly after he was drafted the idea of playing with Smith struck him with excitement.
“I immediately was excited because, ‘Harrison Smith? I get to play with him?’ I always looked up to him, and I still look up to him,” Metellus said. “It’s just great to have a guy like that, who’s played a lot of ball at a very high level, very consistent player, and you get to see that firsthand and it definitely has an impact on your game.
“Just being able to watch him and ask him questions of why he’s doing certain things, he’s a very open guy,” Metellus added. “He’s open on giving tips and different tidbits to help you play fast and help you diagnose offenses. Having a guy like him, I think, is one of the best things for my career.”
As Metellus enters the next stage of his career, he’s sure to become the mentor that Smith was for him. But for now, he’s focused on his role in Flores’ scheme.
“I’m getting a full grasp on his defense in general instead of just my spot, and that’s only gonna help me later down the line,” Metellus said. “[Flores is] obviously a great coach, I’m sure he wants to be a head coach one day, and if he ever leaves and we get a new defensive scheme, I know how to play linebacker, I know how to play safety, I know how to play nickel. It’s helping me in the long run and also helping the team now.”
Like Heavy.com’s content? Be sure to follow us.
This article was originally published on Heavy.com