Josh Metellus is really good at keeping a secret.
He accidentally walked into the photo shoot featuring the Vikings Classic uniforms before the start of the season. Although he enjoyed the sneak peek, he didn't leak.
Fast-forward to December, and after the secret weapon of spring has evolved into a key playmaker in Defensive Coordinator Brian Flores' system, Metellus participated in the Winter Whiteout shoot.
"It was real fun. I just like being out front, leading the way in those situations. That's what makes this game fun," Metellus said. "You get to have fun doing things like that, that not everybody gets to experience."
He explained that he likes both unique uniform combinations, but his personal preference is actually black cleats and black gloves, a look he's enjoyed seeing on Harrison Smith while learning from the six-time Pro Bowler.
"I love the dark combination — 2-2 kind of raised me in that way, loving to wear black in the games, so anything to wear black is my favorite," Metellus said.
Just in the way Smith's versatility and impact have garnered respect across the league, Metellus is gaining his due.
Waves of votes from fans to send him to his first Pro Bowl have come in, and opponents are mindful of Metellus, wherever Flores lines him up. Metellus ranks third among safeties and second in the NFC in the fan vote as of Dec. 20. Voting closes Dec. 25. Send Metellus and teammates to the Pro Bowl by **voting here**.
We caught up with Metellus for a Water Break presented by Crown Royal.
Q: What's it been like to have more opportunities to deliver plays that have been called out by national media like a Baldy Breakdown or the "OooWee!!" segment by Jason McCourty on Good Morning Football?
A: I would say it's been surreal, almost like watching your dreams unfold in front of your eyes. This is a position I've wanted to be in ever since I got in the league. Now that I'm in there, it's all about embracing it and enjoying the moment. I'm an avid Good Morning Football watcher, so the first thing every morning, coming downstairs, turning on Good Morning Football. Seeing that, 'Oh, that's crazy. It's me.' I got an invite to go out and sit with them on the set in the offseason, so I'll probably try to do that.
Q: Were your wife Haley and son Joshy watching?
A: Yeah, Haley loves Good Morning Football more than me. We were all watching it. We just saw it together.
Q: How does writing your goals on a whiteboard help you?
A: I would say the manifesting, visualization of it, seeing myself in those successes really helped me strive every day to get there. It was all a process, and I'm trying to track that good energy and all that toward me so when I have the opportunity, I can put myself at an advantage. I'm a very visualizing person. I need to see things, whether that's in my head or in person, or doing it, I like seeing it and I think that helps me. Some people like writing stuff down. I don't write it. My wife writes it. Her handwriting is way better than mine, so for me, it's more about seeing it so I can see it in my head.
Q: In addition to the plays you've made, there was a combination rush at Denver where you helped free up Danielle Hunter for a sack. You were fired up after that one.
A: Hahaha. Yeah, I'm a big team guy, so any time you can make a play like that where you help set up another guy to make a great play, it juices you up, so that made me happy to see that work.
Q: What's it been like to build the confidence among the defense as you see results?
A: It's been great. The execution and trust in one another is building every week. The more we play together, the more fun we're having, the more we get things done and the more our football minds can work together and create great situations on Sunday where we can let our ability shine.
Q: This is the most you've rushed the passer. How much did you glean from watching Harrison Smith do that during his career?
A: For me, a lot of it is the timing of the blitzes and stuff like that. 2-2 has a great grasp of timing or angles. 'How do you want to approach a certain situation?' He definitely has helped me prime for when I actually got into the role.
Q: Today's game will be a memorable day. Your first career pick was against the Lions. What did that mean to you, being a Michigan alum?
A: I always think the Lions, since I've been in the league, have been my most fun games. My rookie season, those were the games I remember the most. I'm expecting these two to be very fun.
Q: You recently participated in the holiday shopping event at SCHEELS to benefit single-parent families at the Jeremiah Program. What was it like to deliver joy at this time of year?
A: This event hit home a little different for me because my mom was a single mom. She had four kids, and we were at toy drives multiple times around Christmastime, going around, picking our toys, getting blessed by people who were willing to help people in need, so I just felt I had to do my due diligence and do the same thing.
Q: Are you the oldest, the youngest, somewhere in the middle?
A: I'm the oldest. I've always been a leader. I just had to step into it at a young age.
Q: You and Haley are such a great team, but Christmas tree selection prompted a bit of a debate that made its way to Instagram Stories.
A: My wife loves the holidays, this one in particular. Christmas is her favorite. As soon as Halloween is over, we put up the tree. A couple of years ago, I got my wife a tree and told her, 'We're not getting more. This is a good one.' This year, she convinced me to get another one, so that's all that was. Happy wife, happy life. A lot bigger, a lot more lights.
Q: Ladder work and everything?
A: No, not ladder work, but I know we'll eventually get there. If we had high ceilings, we'd definitely need a ladder, but I think it's like 3,000 lights on the tree. There's so many lights it makes it sparkle. She's really into it, and anything that makes her happy makes me happy.
Q: Growing up in South Florida, the holiday season…
A: Different. It's a little different. I appreciate it a lot more being out here — same thing with my wife. She's from California, so having to get the white Christmas and see the snow is definitely different, but you appreciate it a little bit more knowing it's actually the holidays and because it feels like Christmas.