EAGAN, Minn. -- Meet the new captains, same as the old captains.
Vikings players said Friday that the captains for the 2019 season, just like last year, are quarterback Kirk Cousins, tight end Kyle Rudolph, tackle Riley Reiff, linebacker Anthony Barr, defensive end Everson Griffen and nose tackle Linval Joseph.
“I feel pretty good about another opportunity to be a captain,” said Joseph, who will begin his 10th season in Sunday’s opener against Atlanta at U.S. Bank Stadium. “It took nine years to become one for the first time. … It’s nice to help out the young guys and help them become men.”
Barr, entering his sixth season, also was a captain last year for the first time.
“I’m just going to continue to go out there and do what I can to help the team,” Barr said. “Lead by example and be vocal and do the right things.”
Joseph said last month he’s “way stronger” following offseason shoulder surgery.
“Everything feels good,” he said. “I can’t wait to show what I have.”
Joseph was not a full participant in practice during the spring or for much of training camp. He finally was cleared to go after the second exhibition game, but ended up not playing at all in the preseason.
“It a great road to recovery, and I can’t wait for Sunday,” he said.
Joseph had an injury-riddled 2018 season and his streak ended after making two straight Pro Bowls. When the Pro Bowl is next played, he’s hoping instead to be getting ready for Super Bowl LIV in Miami.
“The Pro Bowl, that’s a great place,” said Joseph, who won a Super Bowl with the New York Giants after the 2011 season. “But hopefully I can do my job and we can go to the Super Bowl. The ultimate goal is to go to the Super Bowl.”
- The Vikings have beaten the Falcons three straight times under sixth-year coach Mike Zimmer, and slowing down star receiver Julio Jones has been one reason why. In losses to Minnesota in 2014, 2015 and 2017, Jones caught just 13 passes for 162 yards. “Probably pass rush (on Matt Ryan) has been the biggest thing,” Zimmer said. “I don’t know. Hes a great player.”
- Rookie long snapper Austin Cutting said his mechanics don’t change much with him snapping to new holder Britton Colquitt, the punter Minnesota signed Sunday after waiving Matt Wile, who previously handled both jobs. “I snap like I always do,” Cutting said. “It’s the same operation but little things here and there. It’s been going well.”
- Zimmer had no rooting interest when watching NFC North rivals Green Bay and Chicago face each other in Thursday night’s NFL opener. “I saw a little bit of it,” Zimmer said of the Packers’ 10-3 victory. “Wish they both would have lost.”