Vikings notes: Sherels provides only scoring, but he also gives it right back

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Marcus Sherels returned a punt 86 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter.

Photo: McKenna Ewen, Star Tribune

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– Marcus Sherels had widely varying fortunes in the Vikings’ 23-7 loss to the Giants on Monday night.

The Vikings return man and cornerback scored the second touchdown of his career on an 86-yard punt return in the first half.

But in the third quarter, Sherels missed an interception chance and, on the following play, he fumbled the ball away on a punt return although he was untouched, setting up a Giants touchdown.

Sherels’ punt return was the third longest in team history, behind a 98-yarder by Charlie West in 1968 and a 91-yarder by Nate Burleson in 2004. It gave the Vikings a 7-3 lead. Sherels has two career punt return TDs, tying the team record held by David Palmer and Mewelde Moore.

But Sherels’ fumble was costly. The Giants led 10-7 in the third quarter, and Sherels fielded Steve Weatherford’s kick at his own 10. He stumbled ahead to the 13 but lost the ball when he hit the ground, untouched, and New York eventually recovered the bouncing ball at the 3. Peyton Hillis scored two plays later on a 1-yard run for a 17-7 lead.

By the way, the Giants backfield is so injury-riddled that they added Hillis, the former Cleveland Browns starter who had been working as an assistant coach at a Tennessee high school.

Physicality needed

The reigning league MVP plans on having a talk with the Vikings offensive unit ASAP.

“One thing I’m going to stress on is being more physical as an offensive unit,” Adrian Peterson said after gaining only 28 yards on 13 carries. “Definitely be more physical. We were more physical last year. And that’s one thing that stands out this year.”

The Vikings ran the ball 14 times for 30 yards, a 2.1-yard average, with a long of 8 yards.

“It was definitely tough sledding,” Peterson said. “We just really couldn’t get anything established up front, and that’s where everything starts. We’re just kind of out of whack. [The Giants] were bringing some stunts and a lot of movement up front. Nothing we haven’t seen before, but it kind of put us in an uncomfortable position and we just struggled with that all night.”

Peterson said the problem isn’t just the offensive line.

“It’s a struggle, and I’ve seen these guys before and I know they can do it,” he said. “They’re just kind of in a funk. They make good plays as well, but there are plays where we just don’t execute like position-wise. We just can’t focus on the offensive line. There are a lot o things we can do as an offensive unit as well.”

Pressed into duty

Quarterback Josh Freeman was not the only Vikings player who played on short notice. Veteran cornerback Jacob Lacey was active after being signed this past week.

The Vikings signed Lacey, who spent training camp with the team, after placing safety Harrison Smith on injured reserve. Lacey was activated in place of injured backup A.J. Jefferson.

Lacey started 36 career games in stints with Indianapolis and Detroit. The Vikings signed him during the offseason, but he was sidetracked by injuries and released during the preseason.

Etc.

• Second-year Vikings kicker Blair Walsh missed a 53-yard field goal attempt, the first miss from 50 or longer in his career. Walsh, who has been battling a hamstring injury, has 12 of 50 or longer, and his streak of 12 makes in a row tied an NFL record. Later, given another opportunity to try a 52-yarder, the Vikings punted, but Jeff Locke’s kick went into the end zone for a net of 15 yards.

• Jared Allen made his 100th consecutive start, the longest active streak among NFL defensive linemen. Allen’s 100 consecutive games played also has moved him into first place among active NFL defensive linemen. Dallas’ DeMarcus Ware saw his streak of 134 end Sunday.

• The back tightness that Matt Kalil experienced this past week didn’t cause him to miss the game. Kalil started after being listed as questionable. The No. 4 overall pick in the 2012 draft missed two days of practice in order to get treatment on his back. He said Saturday that it felt better and he was optimistic he would play.

• The Vikings lost fullback Matt Asiata to a shoulder injury and tight end Rhett Ellison to an ankle injury in the second half.

• Cullen Loeffler participated in his 145th game, breaking Mike Morris’ Vikings team record for a long snapper. Loeffler recovered a fumbled punt return in Giants territory in the third quarter, but Freeman gave the ball back on an interception.

• The Giants played without their two leading rushers — Brandon Jacobs (hamstring) and David Wilson (neck). That left rookie Michael Cox, who made his first career carries Monday, and the veteran Hillis.

• The Vikings defense had another shaky start as the Giants opened the game with a 17-play drive that ended with a Josh Brown field goal of 35 yards. The drive lasted 9 minutes, 36 seconds as New York converted three third-down attempts and had five first downs.

• Former Giants defensive end Justin Trattou returned to MetLife Stadium as a visitor. Trattou joined the Giants as an undrafted rookie out of Florida in 2011. He played six games that year, spent 2012 on injured reserve and played five games with three more tackles before being released two weeks ago. The Vikings signed him Oct. 9, but he was inactive Monday.

• The teams combined for 463 yards of offense, or 287 yards fewer than the 750 they produced on punts.

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Cleveland 81 4th Qtr 1:35
Indiana 85
Washington 73 4th Qtr 2:48
Philadelphia 79
Golden State 94 3rd Qtr 1:05
Toronto 53
New York 66 3rd Qtr 1:02
Detroit 65
Orlando 67 4th Qtr 11:40
Atlanta 76
Charlotte 84 4th Qtr 7:28
Boston 82
LA Clippers 41 3rd Qtr
Memphis 41
Brooklyn 57 3rd Qtr
Houston 53
Miami 54 3rd Qtr
New Orleans 54
Minnesota 44 3rd Qtr
Chicago 51
Utah 14 1st Qtr 7:26
Denver 3
San Antonio 9:00 PM
Sacramento
Milwaukee 9:30 PM
LA Lakers
Oklahoma City 9:30 PM
Portland
Boston 2 3rd Prd
New Jersey 2
Calgary 0 3rd Prd 4:29
NY Islanders 1
Washington 0 3rd Prd 8:56
Carolina 2
Chicago 0 3rd Prd
Tampa Bay 2
Colorado 0 2nd Prd
Dallas 0
Los Angeles 9:00 PM
Anaheim
Siena 63 FINAL
Quinnipiac 73
Harvard 49 FINAL
Cornell 57
Penn 69 FINAL
Brown 75
Fairfield 65 FINAL
Canisius 72
Manhattan 75 FINAL
Iona 79
Saint Peters 67 FINAL
Marist 69
Princeton 60 FINAL
Yale 81
Ohio 35 2nd Half 12:15
Akron 40
Dartmouth 44 2nd Half 16:34
Columbia 43
Valparaiso 9:00 PM
Cleveland State
Louisiana Tech 75 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 88
Seton Hall 77 FINAL
Xavier 60
Cornell 54 FINAL
Harvard 60
Yale 49 FINAL
(14) Princeton 67
Elon 51 FINAL
Drexel 54
Northeastern 47 FINAL
James Madison 82
St Johns 60 FINAL
Butler 49
Creighton 71 FINAL
Georgetown 62
Brown 58 FINAL
Penn 75
Columbia 50 FINAL
Dartmouth 60
Canisius 54 FINAL
Siena 58
St Josephs Brooklyn 35 FINAL
NJIT 78
Western Carolina 86 FINAL
UNC Greensboro 80
Colorado 39 2nd Half 13:53
Arizona 37
Southern Ill 43 2nd Half 18:49
Bradley 41
Drake 27 2nd Half 20:00
Wichita State 39
Indiana State 54 2nd Half 10:02
Evansville 32
Illinois State 31 2nd Half 15:41
Loyola-Chicago 39
Northern Iowa 41 2nd Half 11:31
Missouri State 46
Utah 19 1st Half 1:28
(10) Arizona State 12
Providence 26 2nd Half
Villanova 33
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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

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