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5 Numbers of Note by 2016 Vikings Special Teams: Patterson, Sherels Among NFL's Top Returners

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — The Vikings once again showcased a pair of the league's top returners in 2016 and also found stability in their kicking game after making a change a little more than midway through the season.

Cordarrelle Patterson delivered the fifth kickoff return touchdown of his career with a 104-yard run back against Arizona, and Marcus Sherels took back his fourth and fifth punt returns for touchdowns, building on his franchise record.

Sherels returned a punt 54 yards for a score at Carolina and followed with a 79-yarder against Houston two weeks later.

The Vikings gave up a kickoff return for a score but were among the league's best punt coverage teams. Minnesota allowed just 8.0 yards per punt return, the eight-best mark in the NFL.

Here's a look at 5 numbers of note from the 2016 season:

31.7 — kickoff return average for Patterson, who led the NFL in the stat for the third straight season; Patterson was one of seven players with a kickoff return for a touchdown but had the longest one at 104 yards.

34 — number of Jeff Locke punts that were downed inside the 20-yard line, tied for the fifth-most in the league; Locke averaged 42.6 yards per punt and had a net average of 39.0 yards per punt.

2 — number of punt returns for touchdowns by Sherels, who was one of three players to have that many; Sherels finished second in the NFL with a punt return average of 13.9 yards.

15 — number of field goals made by Vikings kicker Kai Forbath this season; Forbath was perfect in his 15 attempts after signing with Minnesota as a free agent in mid-November.

9 — number of total special teams tackles (according to the coaches' tally) by Vikings linebacker Emmanuel Lamur to lead the Vikings; Three other players (Kentrell Brothers, Audie Cole and Anthony Harris) each had eight special teams tackles.

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