Wednesday, June 1, 2016

marcus sherels

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VT QOTW

final 53-man roster for the Vikings
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

The bubble; the void at the bottom of an NFL roster where a player’s season can sink or swim. Minnesota Vikings punt returner Marcus Sherels has made a living on the bubble, scraping his way onto the final 53-man roster like clockwork each year. Journeymen and undrafted free agents spend most of their careers on the edge, but they’re not the only ones in fear of the eventual ‘pop.’

When a team like the Vikings consistently builds through the draft and retains young talent each offseason, they make it more difficult for those at the bottom of the depth chart to stick around. Sometimes, it’s a matter of circumstances; when Rick Spielman uses a first round pick on a wide receiver, another will have to go to make room on the roster. Other times, it’s a matter of players wearing out their welcome; think Gerald Hodges last year, and possibly, Cordarrelle Patterson this offseason.

Front offices have to make sacrifices when constructing a roster. It’s the reality of life in the NFL, where starting positions are only guaranteed if your name is Adrian Peterson or Teddy Bridgewater. Spielman’s cuts, as they do each year, will include a few surprising names. Who, exactly? That’s what the Vikings Territory team is going to try and answer today!

Fill in the blank — ‘Player X’ will not make the final 53-man roster for the Vikings.

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defensive unrestricted free agents
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Via Tom Pelissero of the USA Today, Terence Newman has re-signed with the Minnesota Vikings:

The report has been confirmed by multiple media outlets.

It was reported earlier this month that Newman wanted to stay with the team, and while it took a week, it’s clear now the feeling was mutual. He’ll get a slight bump from last year’s $2.25 million salary, but still comes at a decent price for a player who, at 37 years old, was a solid starter and stabilizing presence in 2015. Newman is a Mike Zimmer guy, and Zimmer must be convinced he still has something left in the tank. Ideally, Newman move into a reserve role and provide depth and passing down flexibility next year, either at corner or safety or both.

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

If you are still tracking the Vikings free agency possibilities late on this Friday evening then your patience has been rewarded. The Vikings have reportedly agreed to a two year deal with punt returner and reserve cornerback Marcus Sherels.

The report comes from Chris Tomasson (who has done an amazing job this offseason) of the Pioneer Press. Tomasson says that terms were agreed to on Friday and Sherels will officially sign his new contract on Monday.

Sherels had visited the New York Jets this week, who are in need of a punt return specialist, but the deal was reached upon his return to Minnesota.

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Image courtesy of Vikings,com

Last week, it was all about the offensive and special teams free agents that could potentially land in Minnesota this offseason. This week, it is all about the defense.

For a unit that ranked fifth in points allowed last season, one would think that the Vikings do not have much to improve upon for 2016. However, improving in a few areas this offseason with free agent signings could help propel Minnesota’s defense into one of the NFL’s best in more categories than just points allowed.

Finding a safety to play next to Harrison Smith is priority number one on this defense’s offseason checklist, as well as improving the play at few other positions. The Vikings, who spent the fourth least amount on free agents last offseason, will likely bring in players who put a smaller dent in their wallet and shy away from the free agents looking for their big payday.

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Vikings 2016 Offseason Plan Part 1

[In part one of this three-part series, Austin Belisle and Brett Anderson team up to put together an in-depth offseason plan for the Minnesota Vikings.]

Blair Walsh lined up to kick a 27-yard field goal, a routine chip shot that would’ve won the Minnesota Vikings their first playoff game in nearly seven years. But the ball didn’t sail through the uprights; it veered left, and just like that, the team’s promising 2015 season was over. Visions of Mike Zimmer hoisting the Lombardi Trophy faded from memory as an exasperated fan base watched in disbelief. “How could he miss that kick?”

Lost in the heartbreak was the fact that the Vikings didn’t just exceed expectations in 2015 — they shattered them. Minnesota entered the year as a darkhorse playoff contender, a young team that flashed promise in 2014 and would only get better with the return of Adrian Peterson. They did, winning 11 games and snatching the NFC North title from the Green Bay Packers for the first time since 2009. With a mix of young talent and veteran leadership, the Vikings emerged as one of the league’s surprise teams last year.

Their success started in the offseason, where general manager Rick Spielman assembled one of the NFL’s deepest, most talented rosters. Rookies like Eric Kendricks and Stefon Diggs became immediate contributors, while second-year free agent acquisitions like Captain Munnerlyn and Linval Joseph elevated their respective games to new levels. In order to take the next step in 2016, the franchise will need to continue its steadfast approach in free agency and the annual NFL Draft.

But in order to do that, it’s critical the team establishes a clear vision. Every organization’s ultimate goal is the same — to claim a Super Bowl victory. Some, like the Vikings, may be closer than others like the Cleveland Browns or Tennessee Titans. Regardless, each begins a new season with a 0-0 record. It’s the path they take that separates them.

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