After the votes rolled in, it took a bit of tabulating before the Vikings named their eight captains for the season.
Head coach Kevin O’Connell said 20 players were named in voting by Minnesota players. And on Monday he revealed the winners.
The Vikings will have four offensive captains in quarterback Kirk Cousins, running back Dalvin Cook, tackle Brian O’Neill and receiver Adam Thielen, three on defense in linebacker Eric Kendricks, safety Harrison Smith and cornerback Patrick Peterson and a special-teams captain in fullback C.J. Ham. O’Connell said Ham also got some offensive votes.
The captains are the same as last year with the exception of Kendricks having the role for the first time and having replaced departed linebacker Anthony Barr. O’Connell said he might have named more captains if NFL rules allowed more than eight.
“These guys have earned it from day one,’’ O’Connell said. “Be great to have those guys wearing the “C” on our jerseys (in Sunday’s opener against Green Bay).”
O’Connell said he also named additional players to the team’s leadership council, but didn’t reveal names. O’Connell said he meets weekly with the council to discuss items such as team meals and when padded practices should be held.
Quarterback David Blough took part in his first practice Monday after agreeing to sign with Minnesota’s practice squad last Thursday.
“I’d say it was a whirlwind,’’ Blough said about making Detroit’s 53-man roster last Tuesday, being waived Wednesday and then choosing the Vikings over a spot on the Lions’ practice squad. “I had to make tough decisions and got to talk to (O’Connell), and I wanted to a part of this.”
Blough said he’s “excited” to be the No. 3 quarterback behind Cousins and Nick Mullens, who are both on the 53-man roster, and that he’s impressed with the team’s “culture.” Blough, on Detroit’s roster his first three NFL seasons, must now get up to speed on the playbook.
“They’ve got a good plan in place,’’ he said. “I’m going to learn it and a little of it is carryover terminology.”
Blough has made five NFL starts, losing all as a rookie in 2019. His second start was in a 20-7 loss at Minnesota on Dec. 8, 2019.
“It was my first road start, and I’m screaming as loud as I could (in the huddle) and not being able to hear myself think,” Blough said. “That’s a testament to the crowd here.”
SMITH READY TO GO
Vikings tight end Irv Smith Jr., who suffered a right thumb injury Aug. 1 and had surgery the next day, said he will be ready to play Sunday. O’Connell has said for the past month he expects to have Smith for the opener.
“I feel as confident as ever that we’ll have him,” O’Connell said Monday.
Smith, a 2019 second-round pick, said he has “no clue” whether he could sign a contract extension by the opener. Previous general manager Rick Spielman preferred not to do extensions during the regular season, but it remains to be seen if replacement Kwesi Adofo-Mensah might continue to evaluate Smith and consider one at a later time. Smith missed all of last year due to a knee injury.
For the first time in three Minnesota seasons, cornerback Cameron Dantzler is wearing “Dantzler Sr.” on the back of his jersey.
Among those Dantzler wants to dedicate the season to is his son, born May 26, 2019. He first wore “Dantzler Sr.” on his jersey late in his 2019 season at Mississippi State. Dantzler has switched back to the No. 3 he wore in college after having 27 his first two Vikings seasons.
“I just want to try something new, put the (Sr.) on the back of my jersey,’’ he said. “New feel. New number.”
Dantzler also reiterated he has his confidence back after losing some of it last year when he was in and out of the lineup under former coach Mike Zimmer.
“I lost it a little bit last year, lost it a little bit on myself and my confidence,’’ he said. “So I just had to gain that back this offseason. … When I came back (to spring drills), I was very confident. I just had that swagger.”