Matt Daniels Speaks on S Josh Metellus’ Role with the 2023 Vikings

Oct 2, 2022; London, United Kingdom; Minnesota Vikings safety Josh Metellus (44) during the NFL International Series game at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter van den Berg-USA TODAY Sports

There are many Vikings on the 2023 roster who can be considered “break out candidates” this season. Particularly on the defensive side, Minnesota will be relying on a number of young players to step up.

One of those young players is S Josh Metellus, who our own Kyle Joudry identified as the most underrated Viking a few weeks ago.

S Josh Metellus
Nov 14, 2021; Inglewood, California, USA; Minnesota Vikings safety Josh Metellus (44) warms up before the game against the Los Angeles Chargers at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

With the Vikings now employing Brian Flores as defensive coordinator, the expectation is that Minnesota will use three-safety sets much more, utilizing the talents of Cam Bynum, Lewis Cine, Metellus, and Harrison Smith.

Throughout his young NFL career, Metellus has been a huge part of the Vikings special teams units, playing a total of 941 snaps with the unit over his first three seasons since being selected as a sixth-round pick in 2020.

Because of this potentially-increased load with the defense, could that eat into Metellus’ snaps on special teams in 2023? Coordinator Matt Daniels spoke on this during his press conference on Wednesday afternoon. According to Daniels, No. 44 will still be out there with his group just as much as he always has been.

I would say I expect [to have] Metellus the exact same amount as I did last year. And he understands and knows that – coach Flores talks about it all the time – conditioning presides over all and that is part of the conditioning aspect of it. We have to be trained and ready to take on 30 special team snaps while also being able to take on 30 defensive snaps. And Metellus is built for that and he’ll do an unbelievable job. He’s a captain of that unit and he’ll continue having the impact as he usually does.

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions
Dec 11, 2022; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Lions wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown (14) is tackled by Minnesota Vikings safety Josh Metellus (44) during the second half at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: David Reginek-USA TODAY Sports

In 2022, he stepped in on defense for Smith who missed three games (even with Cine being available in Week 3). Rather than the 2022 first-round pick, it was Metellus who got the starts in all three games. He made the most of them, too.

In Week 3 against the Lions, Metellus played all 78 defensive snaps, recording 11 tackles and his first career interception. Overall, he finished the season with 42 tackles, a tackle for loss, and 5 passes defended. He thrived on the defense, with Pro Football Focus grading him at 85.1.

When Brian O’Neill went down with his partially torn Achilles, the Vikings named Metellus as a captain to close the 2022 season. This speaks to exactly how his teammates view him in that locker room.

Jun 15, 2021; in Eagen, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings safety Josh Metellus (44) breaks up a pass intended for wide receiver Zach Davidson (40) during drills at OTA at TCO Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports

In the words of Joudry, “Metellus is all about strong leadership, excellent versatility, great compete, and rugged physicality. Those attributes allow him to shine on special teams and will help him to make the jump to a regular within the Brian Flores defense.”

Metellus is the embodiment of everything the Vikings are trying to create within their defense and special teams. He is a terrific competitor and studies every aspect of the game. During OTAs, the safety stated that he had studied every aspect of Flores’ defense to ensure that he’d be ready for an increased role.

Week 1 is still over a month away, but it will be incredibly interesting to see exactly what Metellus brings to the Vikings in his fourth NFL season. He is set to hit free agency when the season ends, and Minnesota would be very smart to keep him around for the long term.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.