EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Establishment candidates were a popular choice in the Vikings locker room in 2016.
Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer opted to have his team select season-long captains via a voting process for the second straight year.
The four tabbed by the Vikings locker room electorate were Chad Greenway, Everson Griffen, Adrian Peterson and Brian Robison.
Greenway, Griffen and Peterson served in the role last year. Robison is not new to leading teammates but said it's an honor to have the designation that will be accompanied by a "C" on his No. 96 jersey. He and Greenway have handled changing roles since Zimmer's arrival in 2014. They've accepted new tasks and applied different techniques even though they are later in their careers. Griffen's role has expanded in that time, and Peterson led the NFL in rushing a year ago.
Zimmer noted Robison's full commitment, which involves sliding from defensive end to defensive tackle in a sub nickel package, is appreciated.
"I think Brian's taken the role of trying to show guys how to be professionals," Zimmer said. "And also, when [I] came in here he had to buy into a new coaching staff, new style of defense, new all that stuff. So I think it's good. It shows that guys can adapt to different things, and as long as you work hard and you do what you're supposed to, guys appreciate it."
The four captains have a combined 492 NFL games played and 366 starts, and all are players who have been with the team since their selections in drafts.
Greenway, who is preparing for his 11th season, is the longest-tenured Viking. Peterson and Robison were draft classmates in 2007 and are entering their 10th season. Griffen will open his seventh pro season at noon (CT) Sunday when the Vikings visit the Titans.
Adam Thielen, the Vikings Special Teams Player of the Year in 2015, was selected by Zimmer to captain that unit this week.
"It's an honor to have the coaches have trust in me to help lead the special teams in the game," Thielen said. "It's a great honor – there's a lot of great players on this team, a lot of great special teams guys, and it's just nice to be able to go out there and lead those guys."
Thielen said the Vikings season-long captains are deserving of the title.
"I think it says a lot, because it's player-voted for," Thielen said. "It says a lot about their character and how guys feel about them in the locker room. It's a great group of guys, and I think it was the right choice for us."