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Local Notebook: Sherels now one of longest tenured Vikings

September 5, 2018

Marcus Sherels has once again secured his roster spot on the Minnesota Vikings after the team announced its final cuts over the weekend.

Sherels, who has many times appeared to be on the “bubble” as cut-down day approached, will begin his ninth season with the Vikings. The John Marshall grad has gone from an undrafted free agent out of the University of Minnesota to one of the longest tenured Vikings.

Sherels, Andrew Sendejo, Everson Griffen and Kirk Cousins are the only Vikings on the roster older than 30 years old. The Vikings had a bit of a youth movement this year as veterans Brian Robison (released) and Terrance Newman (retired) were both among the camp casualties. The 35-year-old Robison played his entire 11-year career in Minnesota while Newman, who turns 40 today, spent three of his 15 NFL seasons with the Vikings. After he retired, the Vikings hired Newman as a member of their coaching staff.

“He’s a great teacher and an amazing football player,” Sherels said of Newman during training camp.

Sherels, Sendejo and Griffen all joined the Vikings in 2010. Sherels was on the practice squad for most of that season, but appeared in one regular-season game. Senedjo, a starting safety, played two games in 2010 and three in 2011 before becoming a regular on defense. Griffen was a key reserve his first four seasons before becoming a starting defensive end in 2014.

Sendejo is now — barely — the oldest player on the team. Sendejo will turn 31 on Sunday, when the Vikings open the season against San Francisco. Sherels turns 31 on Sept. 30 and Griffen with be 31 on Dec. 22. Cousins, the quarterback who signed a three-year deal with Minnesota this past offseason, just turned 30 on Aug. 19.

Sherels has excelled on special teams for the Vikings the past seven seasons. The backup cornerback returns punts and excels in punt return coverage as well. Sherels is also on the kickoff coverage team and can return kickoffs as well.

He holds most of the team’s top all-time records for punt returns, including touchdowns (five), career yardage (2,171), most returns of 50-plus yards (seven) and best return average for a season (15.2) and a career (10.4).

The Vikings are coming off a 13-3 season in which they advanced to the NFC Championship Game. They open the 2018 season at noon Sunday when they host the San Francisco 49ers.

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Sherels is one of five Minnesotans to earn a spot on the Vikings roster. The others are all offensive players and include wide receivers Adam Thielen ans Brandon Zylstra, running back C.J. Ham and guard Tom Compton.

Like Sherels, Thielen and Ham are returning to the Vikings while Zylstra and Compton are in their first season with the team. Compton is the only one of the five who was drafted. The Rosemount grad was a sixth-round draft choice in 2012 out of South Dakota. Thielen, Ham and Zylstra all played Division II college ball. Thielen, a native of Detroit Lakes, played at Minnesota State, Mankato. Ham, a native of Duluth, played at Augustana in Sioux Falls, S.D.and Zylstra, a native of Spicer, played at Concoria-Moorhead and is in his first year in the NFL after playing the last two seasons in the Canadian Football League.

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Two area men from southeastern Minnesota are also coaching in the NFL.

Zumbrota’s Gus Bradley is beginning his 13th season as a coach in the NFL and his second as the defensive coordinator for the Los Angeles Chargers. Bradley was the head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars for four seasons from 2013-16. He was also the defensive coordinator for the Seattle Seahawks for four seasons from 2009-12.

Elgin’s Carson Walch is beginning his first season coaching with the Philadelphia Eagles and his fourth in the NFL. Walch is an assistant wide receivers coach with the Eagles, who won the Super Bowl last season. Walch had spent the last two seasons as an assistant coach with the Edmonton Eskimos in the CFL.

Walch was an offensive quality control coach with the Chicago Bears in 2013-14. He started coaching in the professional ranks with Montreal of the CFL from 2010-12.

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Rochester Community and Technical College goalkeeper Sarah Baack was selected MCAC Defensive Player of the Week for her play during the first week of the fall season.

Baack, a sophomore from Zumbrota-Mazeppa, registered seven saves in a 1-0 last-minute setback to NJCAA Division II Dakota County Technical College in RCTC’s season opener.

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