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Marcus Sherels spent much of the offseason surrounded by question marks, specifically those addressing his status with the team. Like Cordarrelle Patterson, he’s a backup at his native position whose main contributions come on special teams. Unlike Patterson, though, Sherels is making an impact in the return game and being rewarded for his winning efforts.

On Monday, Sherels was named the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week for his performance against the Chicago Bears. In the first quarter, he returned a punt 65 yards for a touchdown, putting the Vikings up 7-3 at Soldier Field in a game Minnesota needed to win. Sherels also returned a punt 12 yards on the Vikings’ game-winning drive and led the team with two special teams tackles.

Among all punt returners, Sherels is currently ranked fifth in the NFL. He’s returned 18 punts for 207, averaging 11.5 yards per return with a long of 65 yards. Against the Bears, Sherels averaged 25.7 yards on three returns, elevating his game when the Vikings needed him most.

According to the Vikings’ official website, Sherels is the franchise’s record-holder with three punt return touchdowns in just five seasons, putting him ahead of former Vikings like Mewelde Moore and David Palmer (two TDs each).

He is also the team’s first ever punt returner to be named NFC Special Teams Player of the Week. Sherels joins three other Vikings who have also received the honor:

  • Blair Walsh — vs. Jacksonville, St. Louis, Green Bay (12), vs. Green Bay (13)
  • Cordarrelle Patterson — vs. Green Bay (13)
  • Adam Thielen — vs. Carolina (14)