Sunday, April 23, 2017

marcus sherels

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WARNING: Do Not Draft Kickers & Punters

Image courtesy of Vikings.com

The Minnesota Vikings find themselves in a bit of a special teams quagmire with the NFL draft quickly approaching.

Blair Walsh, a sixth-round pick in 2012, was notably released this past November and subsequently replaced by former undrafted free-agent kicker Kai Forbath. The Jeff Locke roller coaster, which began with the Vikings selecting the former UCLA punter during the fifth round in 2013, came to a decisive end when he bolted for Indianapolis during free agency this offseason. He has since been replaced on Minnesota’s roster by a pair of previously undrafted punters in Texas Tech’s Taylor Symmank and Boston College’s Ryan Quigley.

Forbath, who connected on 15 of 15 field-goal tries and 11 of 14 extra-point attempts after joining Minnesota ahead of Week 11 in 2016, offers — at the very least — a short-term solution to the Vikings’ kicking situation. Symmank and the recently-signed Quigley, on the other hand, are set to battle it out for the punting job vacated by Locke, but — similar to Forbath — do not necessarily represent definitive long-term options.

Point being, Minnesota is potentially (still) in the market for an upgrade at kicker, punter or both — and the Vikings should refrain from investing any of their very limited draft capital on either special teams position during any round of the 2017 NFL draft.

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VT Roundtable - Episode 004 Teddy vs Sam
Image courtesy of Brett Anderson

This week’s episode of the VT Roundtable hits on all the important offseason topics: Boneless vs. bone-in wings, the value of Pro Football Focus, and, of course, Teddy vs. Sam. Vikings Twitter rages on around these age-old questions, and today, we hope to provide a few answers.

Amidst the serious discussion, there were bandanas, eye black, and increasingly difficult cast-off votes. This week’s edition features the familiar VT faces you know and love, plus, a couple of new additions to the show. Be sure to check it out after the jump and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more Vikings videos.

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About the Labor: A Minnesota Vikings Podcast — Episode 38

Logo designed by Steve Danielson

BJ Reidell and Drew Mahowald review the Minnesota Vikings’ 2016 special teams performance and take a look at what might be to come in the future.

PRIMARY TALKING POINTS

  • Remembering Blair Walsh
  • How good was Kai Forbath?
  • Jeff Locke’s impressive season
  • Marcus “cockroach” Sherels becoming one of the best punt returners in the league
  • Who returns kicks if Cordarrelle Patterson leaves?

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The Minnesota Vikings will face off against the Jacksonville Jaguars without one of their best, Harrison Smith.

Harrison Smith Cowboys Color Rush
Photo courtesy of Vikings.com

There are no major surprises this week on the Vikings inactives for their game in Jacksonville against the Jaguars.

Though it was anticipated Marcus Sherels would suit up for today’s game, thus spawning this excellent article by Austin Belisle, the homegrown punt return specialist will miss his fourth game of the last five weeks.

Harrison Smith, who is dealing with a left ankle injury, will also miss today’s game. His spot will be filled by Anthony Harris who will be making his first start of the season.

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A Welcome Return for Marcus Sherels
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs are fine football players, but they’re no Marcus Sherels. And that’s an odd thing to say, as Sherels is a player who seemingly lives on the Minnesota Vikings’ roster bubble each year. But in the context of punt returns, Sherels’ abilities are unmatched.

He’s been with the Vikings since 2010, and in that time, has returned 165 punts for 1,734 yards and five touchdowns, good for 10.5 yards per return. Despite the annual doubts surrounding Sherels’ place on Minnesota’s roster, he’s earned the trust of special teams coordinator Mike Priefer and thus, the endorsement of the team.

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