The touchdown ball was in C.J. Ham’s locker in Eagan on Monday afternoon, but it would soon join what is becoming a home collection for the Vikings fullback. Ham scored his second NFL touchdown — his first receiving score — on a 5-yard pass from quarterback Kirk Cousins during Sunday’s 42-30 win in Detroit.
“Haven’t seen the end zone in a couple of years,” Ham said. “It was definitely a special moment.”
Ham, the Duluth native, had a few moments while playing a career-high 39 snaps against the Lions. He scored a touchdown, broke through the Lions defense for a 9-yard run to convert a short third down and helped pave the way for Dalvin Cook’s 142 rushing yards.
A year after playing just 140 snaps on offense, Ham has a weekly role for a Vikings offense predicated on play-action throws out of bigger personnel packages, including Ham.
“I’m just blessed to be a part of an offense that does that,” Ham said.
His reward is less time to heal thanks to Thursday night’s game against the Washington Redskins at U.S. Bank Stadium. It’ll be the second return for former Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, who leads Washington with 307 rushing yards but injured his ankle Sunday in a loss to San Francisco.
“That was someone I looked up to,” Ham said. “I got to play one year with him. I personally cannot do the things he does. I can’t say I wanted to be the next Adrian Peterson, because he’s a special player.”
Sherels’ future unclear
Marcus Sherels is the Vikings’ all-time punt return leader with 2,480 yards, but his run spanning nine NFL seasons seems to have come to an end (again). Cornerback Mike Hughes replaced Sherels as the punt returner in Detroit, fielding two and returning one for 9 yards.
Sherels, 32, said Monday he’s unclear about his role moving forward. His roster spot could be in jeopardy with cornerback Holton Hill set to return from suspension next week. The Vikings made Sherels a healthy scratch against the Lions for what he believes to be the first time of his NFL career.
“The first time that I can remember,” Sherels said. “You got to find other ways to help, whether it’s getting Mike ready or being an extra set of eyes on the field.”
Vikings’ top duo
Danielle Hunter and Everson Griffen are the NFL’s second- and third-most disruptive edge rushers through seven weeks, according to pressure statistics compiled by Pro Football Focus. Hunter (49 pressures) and Griffen (44) trail only Houston’s J.J. Watt (51). They each came away with a sack on Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, but only after halftime when the Lions scaled back reinforcements.
“At the beginning of the game, they were chipping us and all that,” Hunter said. “So there’s really nothing we could’ve done. The DBs came through, did their part on the back end and eventually they had to let guys [run routes]. We were able to get pressure at the end of the game.”
Two of linebacker Eric Wilson’s seven starts for the Vikings have come in front of family and friends at Ford Field in Detroit, where he grew up nearby in the suburb of Redford, Mich. The Vikings are 2-0 when he starts against his hometown team, giving him plenty of bragging rights.
“It’s funny because a lot of my friends are Lions fans, but some of them were already Vikings fans and some are Packers fans,” Wilson said. “Some of them show love and, even though they’re Lions or Packers fans, they’ll wear Vikings gear, which I love.”