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Consistent, Steady Play Rewards Special Teams Standouts

Posted Mar 10, 2014

Arguably two of the most consistent players on the Vikings roster, CB/PR Marcus Sherels and LB/ST Larry Dean, were rewarded for their hard work this past week with new contracts after both were scheduled to become restricted free agents at the start of the new league year.

Both soft-spoken players epitomize the do-your-job mentality that NFL coaches constantly preach to their teams. Both also came from paths off the beaten trail to find NFL success.

Vikings

Larry Dean is a former Division-II All-American at Valdosta State in Georgia who made the team as an undrafted free agent in 2011. Since joining the Vikings, Dean has carved out a role on special teams and is known for his coverage prowess and savvy. Dean has provided the Vikings special teams units with a reliable contributor since Day One, not missing a game in his three seasons. After a career-high 18 special teams tackles in 2013, Dean has totaled 48 in 48 career games.

Sherels was invited to the Vikings rookie mini-camp as a college tryout in 2010, where making the roster, even the 90-man, is considered a long shot. Four years later, Sherels will enter his fourth season in the NFL with a brand new contract. The Rochester, Minnesota native and former Minnesota Golden Gopher has found his niche on special teams as one of the best punt returners in the NFL. During the 2013 season, Sherels set a team record and ranked second in the NFL with a 15.2 yards per return average. Sherels is also tied for the franchise mark with two career punt return touchdowns.

As the start of free agency draw near, these are two moves that will easily be overlooked but will provide the Vikings with a couple unwavering veterans to help the special teams units maintain their spot near the top of the NFL.