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Lunchbreak: Unheralded Sherels Still Finding Success in 9th Season

There are two players who are in their ninth season with the Vikings, and they are tied for being the longest-tenured players on the current roster.

One is Everson Griffen, one of the Vikings captains and an emotional leader.

You hardly hear a peep out of the other player, who is none other than Vikings punt returner Marcus Sherels, who had a clutch 70-yard punt return in Minnesota's 41-17 win over Miami on Sunday.

Chip Scoggins of the Star Tribune recently wrote about Sherels' **longevity in the league**, which is almost comical at this point due to him seemingly being written off each summer.

Scoggins wrote:

The narrative before every Vikings training camp is that this will be the season that somebody takes his job. There's always some rookie projected to push Sherels aside as the punt returner. And every year Sherels ends camp as the last man standing.

It's become something of a running joke. The punch line: Only cockroaches and Marcus Sherels will exist when the world ends.

"People have told me that," Sherels said. "I just laugh. It's kind of funny."

Scoggins wrote that Sherels' 70-yard punt return, which came when the Vikings lead by just four points, helped swing the momentum back toward Minnesota.

That marked Sherels' 29th return of 20-plus yards since 2012, the most in the NFL in that span.

Sherels is the only active NFL player with at least 200 career punt returns and eight or fewer fumbles. He's lost only two fumbles in 231 career returns. None since 2016.

Scoggins also got an inside look at Sherels, who is perhaps the quietest player on the team, through his brother, Mike, a former football coach at the University of Minnesota.

Apparently, his younger brother is frugal with his money, obsessed with gadgets that help his body recover, spends down time watching anime, has become quite good at pickleball, and still plans to enter law school after he retires from football.

In the offseason, Sherels hits the gym for 5 a.m. workouts five days a week. His house is filled with contraptions that work different body parts to aid recovery.

"He's got one of those fancy massage chairs that you sit in at the mall," Mike said. "He's always got three or four different new massage things plugged in all around his house. He's like, 'Ah, you've got to try this one.' You have to spread your arms out into this huge net and then manipulate it so it hits you in the back. The stuff is amazing. It feels awesome. I love going over there."

Sherels has done it his way since arriving in the NFL, and has had plenty of success doing so.

The Minnesota native ranks first in franchise history with 231 career punt returns for 2,447 yards and five touchdowns.

Dalvin Cook nominated for FedEx Ground award

Dalvin Cook could be taking home some hardware after his big-time performance in Week 15.

The Vikings running back has been nominated for the FedEx Ground Player of the Week after he ran for a career-high 136 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries against the Dolphins.

Cook, who had multiple rushing touchdowns for the first time in his career, had seven runs of 10-plus yards Sunday against his hometown team.

Cook said Monday after the game that he had a little extra juice going against the Dolphins.

"I always play motivated and passionate," Cook said. "You can ask the guys in the locker room – that's just how I carry myself and my demeanor when I step on the field.

"But my family being there was a plus, it definitely was," Cook added. "But just going out there and having fun and having an opportunity to go out there and win another football game that gives us a chance to get in the dance. It was fun."

Cook now has 503 rushing yards and two touchdowns in nine games in 2018.

Titans running back Derrick Henry and Colts running back Marlon Mack are also up for the award.

FedEx donates $2,000 to the United Service Organizations in the winner's name through FedEx Cares. The donation helps support USO Pathfinder and other programs that help service members transition back to civilian life.