View photos of the eight Vikings players who have been named captain for the 2022 season.
EAGAN, Minn. — The Vikings on Monday announced eight players will be season-long captains for 2022.
The group includes seven players who have previously served as captains, as well as a veteran who will hold the honor for the first time. Teammates' votes determined Vikings captains.
First-year Head Coach Kevin O'Connell said 20 different Vikings players received votes.
"I mean, that's across offense, defense and special teams – that's something that I don't know if I've been around, quite honestly, to have that kind of view of our team from their teammates," O'Connell said Monday. "But we have four offensive captains – Kirk Cousins, Dalvin Cook, Brian O'Neill and Adam Thielen. Three defensive captains in Eric Kendricks, Harrison Smith and Patrick Peterson. And then we have a special teams captain that also received some offensive votes in C.J. Ham. Feel really, really good about not only that group but, as I mentioned, 20 players – and those are just the eight of them that received the most votes."
Beyond the publicly named captains, O'Connell also has implemented a leadership council that he meets with weekly to go over scheduling, meals and other topics that enable the players to help O'Connell "gauge the pulse of our team throughout the season."
"Sometimes you get so wrapped up in Xs and Os and the individual sides of the ball that I need to make sure I remember that the most important thing in my role is our team and our players – and there's no better way to stay connected to those guys than that group," O'Connell said.Here is who will be donning the "C" for the Vikings this season (players listed alphabetically):
Cook will be a captain for the third straight year. A three-time Pro Bowler, Cook has plenty of talent, but he is known just as much for his work ethic and his enthusiastic encouragement of teammates.
Cousins is entering his fifth season in Purple. He's been selected as a captain in each of his campaigns in Minnesota and has taken command of the team's new offense. Last Thursday, Kevin O'Connell mentioned during his press conference that Cousins received a high number of votes.
C.J. Ham (Special Teams)
The new coaching staff has commented multiple times about its intrigue of using a fullback in the offense and spoken almost as much about how Ham goes about everything the right way. That will come in handy in his additional duties as a core special teams player for a unit that works with a lot of young players.
View the best photos of Vikings FB C.J. Ham from the 2021 season.
First-time captain, longtime emotional leader. The 2020 Vikings Community Man of the Year has been such a key to the overall function of Minnesota's defense. That's expected to be the case again as the Vikings shift from a 4-3 to a 3-4 base. Anthony Barr's departure in free agency has created an additional leadership opportunity for Kendricks.
O'Neill will be a captain for the second consecutive season. He's emerged as one of the best right tackles in the NFL. O'Neill blends a gregarious off-field personality with a demeanor that means business between the lines.
Peterson will be a Vikings captain for the second time in as many seasons with the team. The eight-time Pro Bowler with Arizona served as a captain five times with the Cardinals (2013; 2015-18) before joining Minnesota in 2021. The 32-year-old will lead a group of young cornerbacks that include rookies Andrew Booth, Jr. (will turn 22 this month), and Akayleb Evans (23), along with Cameron Dantzler, Sr. Dantzler turned 24 Saturday and is prepping for his third pro season.
Smith has been a mainstay on the back end of Minnesota's defense for the past 10 seasons. His 11th campaign in Purple will be his third consecutive year of wearing the "C." Smith has started 144 regular-season games as a dynamic, multipronged threat to opponents who leads by example. Similar to Peterson, the 33-year-old has young players in his position group that include second-year pro Camryn Bynum and 2022 first-rounder Lewis Cine.
Thielen is a captain for a second year in a row. He turned 32 last month and remains one of the top receiving threats in the NFL, particularly in the red zone. A player of tremendous passion, even in practices, Thielen is positioned to move further up the Vikings all-time receiving leaderboard. He's 34 yards away from becoming the seventh player in franchise history with at least 6,300 receiving yards and one receiving touchdown from his 50th, which would tie him with Sammy White for fourth all-time in franchise history.