Marcus Sherels

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Marcus Sherels
refer to caption
Sherels in the 2015 NFL season.
No. 35 Minnesota Vikings
Position: Cornerback / Return specialist
Personal information
Date of birth: (1987-09-30) September 30, 1987 (age 29)
Place of birth: Rochester, Minnesota
Height: 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Weight: 175 lb (79 kg)
Career information
High school: Rochester (MN) John Marshall
College: Minnesota
Undrafted: 2010
Career history
Roster status: Active
Career NFL statistics as of Week 17, 2016
Total tackles: 102
Forced fumbles: 1
Interceptions: 1
Pass deflections: 11
Total return yards: 2,844
Total touchdowns: 6
Player stats at NFL.com

Marcus John Sherels (born September 30, 1987) is an American football cornerback and return specialist for the Minnesota Vikings of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Minnesota. He was signed by the Vikings as an undrafted free agent in 2010. Primarily known as a return specialist, Sherels ranks second in franchise history with a 10.2 career punt return average (159 for 1,688 yards) and holds the record with 5 career punt return touchdowns.

Early years[edit]

Sherels attended John Marshall High School in Rochester, Minnesota. In football, he was used on both sides of the ball because of his playmaking ability, playing running back and wide receiver on offense and defensive back on defense. In 2004, he led his team to the state tournament. He was named honorable mention Associated Press (AP) All-State as a junior as he led the Rockets to a section title and 9-2 mark. As a senior, he rushed for over 1,000 yards and rushed for 100 or more yards in seven of nine games for the Rockets. They finished their 5-4 season with a 32-8 loss to Farmington in the first round of the Section 1, Class 5A playoffs, where he was held to just 36 yards on 16 carries. For his season efforts, he earned an honorable mention All-State at running back. He also excelled on the basketball team, earning all-conference honors after leading his team to the sectional semifinals, where they lost to Hastings.

College career[edit]

Sherels played for the Minnesota Golden Gophers, earning a scholarship after initially joining the football program as a walk-on.[1] He recorded four career interceptions with the Gophers and returned a fumble 88 yards for a touchdown during the 2009-2010 season.

Professional career[edit]

Pre-draft[edit]

Pre-draft measurables
Ht Wt 40-yd dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert Broad BP
5 ft 9 in 175 lb 4.37 s 1.41 s 2.52 s 4.07 s 6.97 s 40 in 10 ft 1 in 12 reps
All values from Minnesota's Pro Day.[2]

Sherels ran a 4.37 and 4.39-second in the 40-yard dash and recorded a 40-inch vertical jump at his Pro Day.

Minnesota Vikings[edit]

Sherels was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Minnesota Vikings in the 2010 preseason after a strong performance in the Vikings rookie camp, where he participated on a tryout basis. Sherels holds the Vikings record with 5 career punt return touchdowns after he passed career marks of 2 previously held by Mewelde Moore and David Palmer. He also ranks second in the league from 2012-15 with 1,230 punt return yards and is tied for second in that same 4-year span with 3 punt return scores. In 2013, he started a career-high 4 games at cornerback and set the Vikings' single-season record with a 15.2 punt return average, breaking the previous mark of 13.2 set by running back David Palmer during the 1995 season. He also holds the team record with 5 career punt returns of more than 50 yards. On October 21, 2013, he notched the third-longest punt return touchdown in club history with an 86-yarder against the New York Giants on Monday Night Football that helped him set the Vikings single game record with 119 punt return yards. In 2012, he became the 10th player in Vikings history to return a punt for a touchdown with a 77-yard return for a score against the Detroit Lions, the 7th-longest punt return in team history. In the 2013 preseason game against the Tennessee Titans, he set a Vikings preseason record with a 109-yard kickoff return touchdown.

2010 season[edit]

Sherels was waived by the Vikings on September 4, 2010 and then signed to the practice squad on September 6. On September 28, Sherels was released in order to make room on the practice squad for tight end John Nalbone. On October 13, Sherels was re-signed to the Vikings practice squad and Nalbone released. This move, along with the signing of Frank Walker to the active squad, was made due to the season-ending injury sustained by starting cornerback Cedric Griffin, who was placed on injured reserve the same day. Sherels spent 15 weeks on the Vikings’ practice squad and was activated for the final game of the season against the Detroit Lions.

2011 season[edit]

On January 1, 2011, Sherels was elevated to the active 53-man squad after safety Madieu Williams was placed on injured reserve.[3] Sherels was moved from his habitual special teams role to start 3 games as a nickel cornerback as injuries took their toll on the Vikings secondary, but he still handled all punt return duties and was tied for second on the team with 16 kickoff returns, only behind Percy Harvin. He started the first game of his career against Arizona on October 9, a game which the Vikings won for the first win of the season. He recorded the Vikings' longest punt return of season with a 53-yarder in week 3 against the Lions and the third-longest kickoff return with a 78-yarder against the Panthers in week 8. In the Vikings' week 10 loss against the Green Bay Packers he posted his first career sack against Aaron Rodgers. Sherels finished the season with 27 combined tackles, a sack and three passes defended on defense, while also returning 16 kicks for 445 yards (27.8 avg.) and 33 punts for 277 yards (8.4 avg.).

2012 season[edit]

In 2012, Sherels handled all punt return duties and tied for the team-lead again with Percy Harvin in kickoff returns with 16. He ranked seventh in the NFC in punt return average at 9.0 yards per return. On September 30, 2012 (Sherels' 25th birthday) in an away game at the Detroit Lions, Sherels recorded his first career touchdown on a 77-yard punt return that gave the Vikings a 14-point lead in their 20-13 win.[4] The touchdown helped match a Vikings record with a punt return touchdown and kickoff return touchdown in the same game as Percy Harvin also scored on a 105-yarder. Sherels finished the season with 9 total tackles and one pass defended as a cornerback, and 16 kick returns for 422 yards (26.4 avg.) and 32 punt returns for 287 yards (9.0 avg.).

2013 season[edit]

In a preseason game against the Tennessee Titans, Sherels recorded a 109-yard kickoff return score and an interception of Titans' quarterback Rusty Smith. For the 2013 season Sherels led the NFC with a 15.2 yard average on punt returns, breaking the previous mark by 2 yards (David Palmer, who averaged 13.2 in 1995), and led the league in fair catches with 26. In week 7, he set a team record for single-game punt return yards with 119 at the New York Giants, with a long of 89 yards that resulted in a touchdown. On December 8, he picked off his first career interception off Baltimore Ravens' quarterback Joe Flacco in week 14. He had a pair of 8-tackle games during the season, at Dallas in week 9 and at Cincinnati in week 16. He started at cornerback for the NFL International Series game celebrated in London, England against the Pittsburgh Steelers that resulted in the Vikings first win of the season. In week 3, he stepped in for injured starter Chris Cook and tied for the team-high with a career-best 10 tackles, including 9 solos and led the team with 4 passes defensed against the Cleveland Browns. Sherels started three games during the season and posted a career high 46 tackles (40 of them solo), 6 passes defended and a pick, while also returning 22 punts for 335 yards (15.2 avg.).

2014 season[edit]

On March 7, 2014, the Vikings resigned Sherels for 2 years.[5] He tied for sixth in the NFL and third in the NFC in punt return average with 11.0 per attempt. His longest punt return of the season came at the Detroit Lions in week 6 with a 35-yarder. In week 5, he returned 4 kickoffs for 110 yards (27.5 avg.) with a long of 46 yards at the Green Bay Packers. On special teams, he ranked4 fourth on the team with a career-high 11 special teams tackles while adding a forced fumble. While appearing in all 16 games, Sherels posted 8 tackles on defense, returned 4 kicks for 110 yards and 27 punts for 297 yards (11.0 avg.). For his season efforts, Sherels was named the 2014 PFF All-NFC North Returner of the Year.[6]

2015 season[edit]

On November 4, 2015, Sherels was named the NFC Special-Teams Player of the week for the first time in regards to his Week 9 65-yard punt-return for a touchdown against the Chicago Bears that helped break an 8-game losing streak at Soldier Field.[7] In the season opener game against the San Francisco 49ers, he jumped on a field goal blocked by teammate Andrew Sendejo and returned it 44 yards. For the season, he collected 8 tackles, all of them solo, returned 2 kicks for 33 yards (16.5 avg.) and 34 punts for 311 yards (9.1 avg.). He also ranked fifth on the team with 8 special teams tackles.

2016 season[edit]

In March 11, the Vikings resigned Sherels to a two-year $4 million contract with a $1.5 million guaranteed. On August 18 during a preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks, Sherels caused a pass interference late in the fourth quarter, but on the very next play, he picked off a pass from rookie quarterback Trevone Boykin and returned it 53 yards for a touchdown to help the Vikings win. In Week 3 of the regular season with the Vikings trailing 10-2 to the Carolina Panthers, Sherels changed the course of the game with a 54-yard punt return for a touchdown late in the first quarter. He also deflected a pass intended to Kelvin Benjamin late in the game.[8] In week 5 against the Houston Texans, Sherels returned a punt for a 79-yard touchdown that gave the Vikings a 24-0 lead. His return was seventh longest in team history, and he moved into second place among Vikings in punt return yards with 1,688, trailing only Leo Lewis, who had 1,812 in 11 seasons. Sherels, in his sixth season, also became the first Vikings player to have two games with more than 100 yards in punt returns.[9]

Minnesota Vikings franchise records[edit]

  • Vikings Single-Season Punt Return Average: 15.2 (2013)
  • Most punt return yards in a game: 119,(October 21, 2013)
  • Most punt return touchdowns in a career: 5
  • The first Vikings to have 5 or more punt return touchdowns in franchise history: 5
  • First Vikings player to have two games with more than 100 yards in punt returns: (2016)
  • Most Special Team touchdowns by any Viking in franchise history: 5 (tied with Cordarrelle Patterson)

Career statistics[edit]

Defense[edit]

Regular season statistics Tackles Interceptions Fumbles
Season Team GP GS Comb Total Ast Sck Sfty PDef Int Yds Avg Lng TDs FF FR FR YDS
2010 MIN 1 0 0 0 0 0.0 -- 0 0 0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0
2011 MIN 16 3 27 21 6 1.0 -- 3 0 0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0
2012 MIN 16 0 9 7 2 0.0 -- 1 0 0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0
2013 MIN 16 3 46 40 6 0.0 -- 6 1 0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0
2014 MIN 16 0 8 7 1 0.0 -- 0 0 0 0.0 0 0 1 0 0
2015 MIN 16 0 8 8 0 0.0 -- 0 0 0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0
2016 MIN 5 0 2 2 0 0.0 -- 1 0 0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0
Career 86 6 100 85 15 1.0 -- 11 1 0 0.0 0 0 1 0 0

[10]

Return[edit]

Regular season statistics Kick return Punt return
Season Team GP GS Ret Yds Avg Lng TDs +20 +40 Ret Yds Avg Lng TDs +20 +40 FC Fumbles
2010 MIN 1 0 -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
2011 MIN 16 3 16 445 27.8 78 0 12 1 33 277 8.4 53 0 3 1 20 0
2012 MIN 16 0 16 422 26.4 41 0 13 2 32 287 9.0 77T 1 2 1 27 1
2013 MIN 16 3 -- -- -- -- -- -- -- 22 335 15.2 86T 1 5 2 27 3
2014 MIN 16 0 4 110 27.5 46 0 2 1 27 297 11.0 35 0 4 0 26 0
2015 MIN 16 0 2 33 16.5 21 0 1 0 34 311 9.1 65T 1 4 1 15 2
2016 MIN 5 0 1 18 18.0 18 0 0 0 11 181 16.5 79T 2 2 2 7 0
Career 86 6 39 1,028 26.4 78 0 28 4 153 1,688 10.6 86 5 20 7 122 6

Personal life[edit]

Sherels was a former Gopher teammate with New York Jets wide receiver Eric Decker. Sherels is the younger brother of Minnesota Golden Gophers linebacker and linebackers coach Mike Sherels.

References[edit]