EAGAN, MN (KELO) — Former Augustana standout, C.J. Ham is one of the longest tenured Vikings. The Duluth, Minnesota native now enters his seventh season with the purple and gold.

25 members of this year’s Minnesota Vikings have been in the league for at least five seasons, helping establish a strong group of leaders for the Vikes.

“We have tremendous confidence in our leadership. Like any team, that’s a big part of it. Of course our players, we have great veteran leadership, great new young blood here to help this team coalesce in a way that is really going to work out,” Vikings President Mark Wilf said.

One of the veteran leaders is C.J. Ham, who is set to play year number seven with the Vikings.

“He’s one of the leaders on our team and he’s one of the most consistent, unselfish, along with being talented,” Vikings offensive coordinator Wes Phillips said. “You really can’t put a value on what he means to this team.”

Ham’s talent provides plenty of help for the Vikings on the field, but it’s his contributions off the field that brings pride to the fullback.

“I’m just going to go out there and be what I am. If that means me helping somebody out, then I’m going to do it,” CJ Ham said. “That’s always something that I’ve tried to do.

C.J. has become a team favorite in the locker room, providing a spark that goes well beyond the box score. 

“When his name comes up in a meeting, guys are cheering across the team, because he kind of touches all groups with the special teams that he’s been involved in for a long time and of course what he does for us on offense,” Phillips said. “He’s a special human on top of being a really good football player. We’re lucky to have him.”

“There’s a lot of things that happen in this league, so if I can help anybody in anyway, that’s what it’s all about,” Ham said.

Ham and the Vikings open preseason play on Thursday at Seattle. Kick-off is set for 9 p.m.