Vikings give safety and special teams ace Josh Metellus a contract extension

EAGAN, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota Vikings safety and special teams standout Josh Metellus agreed to terms on a two-year contract extension on Thursday, further cementing the club's deepest position.

The deal for Metellus, who was a sixth-round draft pick out of Michigan in 2020, has a maximum value of $13 million with $6 million guaranteed, his agent Drew Rosenhaus confirmed.

Metellus is behind six-time Pro Bowl pick Harrison Smith and incumbent starter Camryn Bynum on the depth chart, but he's been used frequently as a fifth or sixth defensive back in various personnel packages rolled out during the preseason by new defensive coordinator Brian Flores.

Metellus started three games last season when Smith was sidelined, and he excelled on the four primary phases of special teams where he is expected to remain even with an increased role on defense. Selected by his peers as one of eight captains for the second consecutive season, Metellus led the team in special teams tackles in 2020 and 2022.

“I always tell the group, if you just do the work, the money will come,” special teams coordinator Matt Daniels said. “If you be so good they can’t deny you, everything else will work itself out.”

The Vikings also have 2022 first-round draft pick Lewis Cine as a backup safety, plus Theo Jackson and Jay Ward in reserve and special teams roles after strong performances during training camp, and Metellus said without hesitation his next goal is to become an every-down player.

“Me and my wife, we couldn’t even sleep last night, we were so happy,” Metellus said. “We manifested a lot of things and to see things come to life and be able to live this dream, I would say it’s really special for us. We’ve been here for four years. My goal is to be here my whole career.”

The money for Metellus will not quite measure up to the guarantees that wide receiver Justin Jefferson could soon get, with his representatives and the Vikings in negotiations on an extension that will undoubtedly make him the highest-paid player at his position.

“Of course I would want a contract to be done,” Jefferson said. “But at the end of the day, it is all up to them and what the ownership wants to do with that.”

At his regular weekly interview session with reporters on Thursday, Jefferson was peppered with contract questions in light of a megadeal signed this week by San Francisco's Nick Bosa that made him the richest defensive player in the league.

“I’ve done something that no one has ever done in the history of the game, so my situation is a little bit different than everyone else’s,” Jefferson said. "Of course, I’m going into my fourth year, trying to talk about contract two years early. There’s so many different parts that go in toward it. That’s why I leave it up to my agent and just keep my mindset on the field.”