Sherels makes a solid case to win Vikings roster spot after big game

  • Article by: CHIP SCOGGINS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 30, 2013 - 1:48 AM

The grieving former Gopher returned a kickoff 109 yards for a score and also snared an interception.

 

Don’t tell Marcus Sherels that the Vikings’ fourth and final preseason game was meaningless.

Fighting for a roster spot while grieving the death of his father, Sherels returned a kickoff 109 yards and intercepted a pass in span of 3 minutes, 16 seconds in the third quarter to make a strong case that he deserves a roster spot.

Sherels’ double dose of highlights helped the Vikings avoid a winless preseason with a 24-23 victory against the Tennessee Titans at Mall of America Field.

The Vikings finished the preseason 1-3 and now turn their sights on the Sept. 8 opener in Detroit. The Vikings must trim their roster to 53 by Saturday’s 5 p.m. deadline.

On a night devoted strictly to evaluating backups and players on the bubble, Sherels delivered an emotional performance that drew praise throughout the locker room.

“For him to come out and play the way he did tonight tells you a lot about Marcus’ heart and his character,” Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said.

Sherels, a former Gopher, has endured a difficult training camp while coping with his father’s death. His dad, Ben, died of cancer on the eve of the first preseason game in early August. Marcus missed the third preseason game in San Francisco this past Sunday as his family held his father’s funeral.

Sherels told Frazier in a private meeting that he was concerned about missing the game because he is fighting for a roster spot. Frazier’s words eased his mind.

“Nothing is more important than being there with your mother and brothers and sisters during that time,” Frazier said.

Said Sherels of their talk: “It was awesome. I am glad I made that decision.”

Sherels has earned deep respect inside the organization because he’s a perpetual underdog who continues to finds ways to make the team. He began his career as a long shot and he starts each training camp on the bubble.

“It just seems like every year he’s one of those guys you’re wondering if he’s going to make it this time,” Frazier said. “[You’re wondering], who is going to push him and maybe take his spot on the roster?”

Sherels has faced tight competition from Bobby Felder for the punt returner job and backup cornerback. Felder was one of the biggest surprises in preseason — particularly as a returner — but he was carted to the locker room with a sprained ankle in the fourth quarter.

Sherels already had made his case by then. He took the second-half kickoff 9 yards deep and found a wide lane along the sideline for a clear path to the end zone. A few minutes later, he intercepted a pass near midfield.

“Everybody loves the way Marcus competes,” Frazier said. “We were all pulling for him. He was playing with a heavy heart. To see him make those plays, our whole sideline was just jubilant to see him come out and play the way he did knowing what’s on his mind and what this week has been like for him.”

As expected, the Vikings rested their starters and even key backups. The Titans gave their starting quarterback Jake Locker and his first-team offensive line one series before calling it a night.

The game had a scary moment in the second quarter when Vikings offensive guard Seth Olsen took a knee to the head and was removed from the field on a cart. Olsen was blocking on a screen pass and was kneed in the head by Tennessee linebacker Scott Solomon. Afterward, the Vikings were relieved to learn that he suffered only a concussion.

Frazier was pleased to conclude the preseason with a victory after his team struggled in the first three games, particularly on offense. The team now must reduce the roster from 75 to 53.

The waiting game is an anxious time for players on the bubble. That includes Sherels, who knows the drill by now.

“Same as it’s been the past three years for me,” he said. “It’s not really in my hands. It’s out of my control. I’ll just sit and wait.”

He should be able to rest easier after Thursday.



 

  • related content

  • Video: Sherels steps up in final preseason game

    Friday August 30, 2013

    Fighting for a roster spot while grieving the death of his father, Marcus Sherels returned a kickoff 109 yards...

  • Lineman Seth Olsen is OK after being carried off the field

    Friday August 30, 2013

    The 27-year-old reserve guard hit his head on a Titans player’s knee while blocking, and had his neck snap back.

  • Former Vikings players eager to find out NFL settlement details

    Friday August 30, 2013

    The NFL has reached a preliminary settlement with thousands of former players who sued the league over brain injuries sustained while playing.

  • Photo gallery: Vikings 24, Tennessee 23

    Thursday August 29, 2013

    The Vikings squeezed out a one-point victory over the Titans in the preseason finale.

  • VikesCentric: Four who flashed vs. Tennessee

    Thursday August 29, 2013

    Who stood out in the Vikings' final preseason game? VikesCentric breaks it down.

  • The Minnesota Vikings won their first game of the preseason with a 24-...

  • Vikings quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson (4) threw a short pass for a touchdown in the second quarter.

  • Vikings receiver Rodney Smith caught a pass for a 28-yard gain while defended by Alterraun Verner in the first quarter.

  • The Titans’ Jalen Parmele had his helmet tore off by Collins Ukwu.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Philadelphia - LP: K. Kendrick 2 FINAL
NY Mets - WP: Z. Wheeler 11
Milwaukee - WP: Y. Gallardo 5 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: D. Price 0
Arizona - WP: W. Miley 5 FINAL
Cincinnati - LP: A. Simon 4
Washington - WP: T. Roark 4 FINAL
Miami - LP: B. Hand 3
Oakland - LP: J. Hammel 1 FINAL
Houston - WP: D. Keuchel 8
Pittsburgh - LP: J. Wilson 5 FINAL
San Francisco - WP: J. Machi 7
LA Angels - LP: G. Richards 3 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: K. Gausman 4
Seattle - LP: F. Hernandez 0 FINAL
Cleveland - WP: C. Kluber 2
Chicago WSox - LP: H. Noesi 2 FINAL
Detroit - WP: M. Scherzer 7
Toronto - WP: M. Buehrle 6 FINAL
Boston - LP: B. Workman 1
Colorado - WP: R. Scahill 6 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - LP: W. Wright 4
NY Yankees - LP: H. Kuroda 2 FINAL
Texas - WP: C. Lewis 3
Minnesota - LP: P. Hughes 2 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: J. Frasor 3
Atlanta - LP: D. Hale 2 FINAL
Los Angeles - WP: J. Howell 3
St. Louis - LP: J. Kelly 1 FINAL
San Diego - WP: J. Hahn 12
NY Giants 8/3/14 7:00 PM
Buffalo
Toronto FC 0 FINAL
D.C. 3
Colorado 0 FINAL
New England 3
Vancouver FC 0 FINAL
Chicago 0
Red Bull New York 1 FINAL
Real Salt Lake 1
Winnipeg 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Toronto 8/1/14 6:00 PM
Montreal
Brt Columbia 8/1/14 9:00 PM
Calgary
Saskatchewan 8/2/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 8/7/14 7:30 PM
Winnipeg
Edmonton 8/8/14 6:00 PM
Montreal
Hamilton 8/8/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Ottawa 8/9/14 6:30 PM
Calgary
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 pm
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pm
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pm
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pm
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis Noon
Sep 14 - vs. New England Noon
Sep 21 - at New Orleans Noon
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pm
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which local pro team are you most excited about?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close