Vikings' punt return job still open

  • Article by: KENT YOUNGBLOOD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 22, 2012 - 6:42 AM

There are many candidates for the job.

hide

Marcus Sherels

Photo: Andy King, Associated Press - Ap

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

There are two more preseason games to go and Vikings special teams coach Mike Priefer still isn't sure who his full-time punt returner will be. And Priefer might not get the final call; it might depend on who coach Leslie Frazier decides to keep on his final roster.

Jarius Wright, Josh Robinson, Bryan Walters and Marcus Sherels all got a shot at the position Friday against Buffalo. Priefer likes the big-play potential of Robinson and Wright but loves the reliability of Sherels, who might not break many big returns but can be depended on to secure the ball.

Buffalo punters did a good job, which made Priefer's job of evaluating his returners more difficult.

"We have to solidify who that is going forward, because we're running out of time to make that decision," Priefer said. "I have my ideas because of practice tape. ... The guy I'm most comfortable with would be Marcus, because he's done it before and he's very sure-handed. Josh has got some juice to him, as you've seen on defense as well. Walters has been there before, and Jarius is kind of in the developmental stage right now, to be honest with you."

Sherels handed the job fulltime last season, averaging 8.4 yards per return. With the competition more intense in the defensive backfield this year, being the punt returner might be Sherels' best chance to make the final roster.

Priefer might have to lobby with Frazier.

"Like any roster spot, returner is extremely important," Priefer said. "At this time of the year, I have to pick and choose my battles. That's why I watch practice and listen to the other coaches and their evaluations of the position players. It's going to be real interesting the next couple weeks what we end up doing."

That means the development of Robinson, a cornerback, and Wright, a receiver, will be closely watched. Both have had difficulties tracking the ball, especially on kicks outside. That said, Priefer said he would also pick the sure-handed receiver.

"I've preached ball security since I've been here," he said.

Fusco improving

Injuries have given Brandon Fusco the starting right guard spot almost by default. But Frazier doesn't want Fusco to get too comfortable, and is motivating the second-year player.

"We still have to keep giving him more opportunities to be in situations," Frazier said. "This weekend will be a good test for him. San Diego has a good front, although it's a 3-4. He's been a lot more consistent than he has been in the past."

Injuries have decreased the competition at the spot. Geoff Schwartz is out (sports hernia), and neither Joe Berger nor Chris DeGeare has been able to unseat Fusco. Still, Frazier does not want the second-year guard to feel the position is being handed to him.

"You don't want it to be starter by default," Frazier said. "You want to keep putting him in situations to see how he handles things, and then make a determination on it. He's done a good job, but he's had a limited amount of experience."

Etc.

• Cornerback Chris Cook (concussion) still is not cleared to practice. Frazier said he hoped Cook could practice Wednesday but that he probably would miss the third preseason game. That means more snaps for Robinson and Chris Carr. Frazier didn't say who would start.

• Defensive end Everson Griffen, who missed Monday's workouts because of illness, returned to practice Tuesday. Also back on the field was linebacker Solomon Elimimian (hamstring), who returned after missing two days of practice. Not practicing were Cook, receiver Kamar Jordan (hand), guard Bridger Buche, Schwartz and John Carlson (knee).

• Offensive lineman DeMarcus Love looked good in practice Monday and could play in Friday's game against San Diego.

• Frazier said he would limit the snaps for running back Toby Gerhart over the final two preseason games.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

NY Mets 4 FINAL
St. Louis 5
Pittsburgh 4 FINAL
Minnesota 2
St. Louis 1 FINAL
Washington 1
Boston - LP: C. Buchholz 2 FINAL
Atlanta - WP: J. Teheran 4
NY Yankees 10 FINAL
Philadelphia 0
Tampa Bay 0 Cancelled
Baltimore 0
Detroit 1 FINAL
Toronto 4
Chicago WSox 3 FINAL
Chicago Cubs 6
Texas 6 FINAL
Oakland 7
Cleveland 2 FINAL
Arizona 3
Arizona 7 FINAL
LA Angels 2
Miami 0 Cancelled
Houston 0
Seattle 8:05 PM
Kansas City
San Francisco 9:05 PM
Los Angeles
Colorado 9:05 PM
San Diego
Milwaukee 9:05 PM
Cincinnati
Detroit 70 3rd Qtr 5:59
Orlando 63
LA Clippers 62 3rd Qtr
Philadelphia 54
Charlotte 64 3rd Qtr 8:19
Washington 61
Boston 39 2nd Qtr 3:11
New York 30
Cleveland 52 2nd Qtr 1:48
Brooklyn 52
LA Lakers 40 2nd Qtr 3:26
Toronto 42
Miami 30 2nd Qtr 4:51
Atlanta 42
Golden State 26 1st Qtr 3:06
Memphis 18
Sacramento 19 1st Qtr 1:09
New Orleans 17
Minnesota 15 1st Qtr 4:55
Houston 19
Dallas 7:30 PM
San Antonio
Utah 8:00 PM
Denver
Portland 9:00 PM
Phoenix
Calgary 0 1st Prd 15:05
Minnesota 0
Columbus 7:30 PM
Chicago
Dallas 8:30 PM
Edmonton
UCLA 34 2nd Half 18:05
Gonzaga 35
NC State 33 2nd Half
Louisville 31
Utah 8:45 PM
Duke
Kent State 9:00 PM
Northern Ariz
Michigan State 9:07 PM
Oklahoma
(15) North Carolina 27 2nd Half 17:37
(3) South Carolina 33
(18) Iowa 34 2nd Half
(5) Baylor 42
(9) Arizona State 8:30 PM
(7) Florida State
(14) Stanford 9:00 PM
(2) Notre Dame
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago NoonX13-9

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: What should the Vikings do with Adrian Peterson?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close