EAGAN, Minn. — The most-prolific punt returner in franchise history is back with the Vikings.
Minnesota announced Thursday that it has re-signed Marcus Sherels, whose contract expired earlier this month. Sherels will return for his ninth season with the Vikings and eighth on the active roster.
"It's awesome," Sherels said. "I've spent my whole career here, and I love this organization – the coaching staff, the training staff, the equipment staff, everyone."
He later added that he has high expectations for the 2018 season.
"You always expect to win," Sherels said. "[I'm] excited to come back, and I'm looking forward to the year."
Sherels, a native of Rochester, is the Vikings all-time leader in both punt return yardage (2,171) and punt returns for touchdowns (five). He has averaged 10.4 yards per punt return during his NFL career.
Sherels returned two punts for touchdowns in 2016, and found the end zone on punts during the 2012, 2013 and 2015 seasons.
In addition to being a depth cornerback, Sherels pulled double duty during the 2017 season as he returned both kickoffs and punts.
Sherels tallied 372 yards on 39 punt returns, for an average of 9.5 yards per return that ranked seventh in the NFL. He also totaled 271 yards on 11 kickoff returns for an average of 24.6 yards per return.
Besides returning punts and kickoffs, Sherels has also established himself as a valuable member of Minnesota's punt and kickoff coverage teams.
Sherels joined the Vikings after playing at the University of Minnesota. He was signed as a rookie free agent in the spring of 2010 and has appeared in 108 career games.
When asked if he could have imagined this day when he first joined the Vikings in 2010, Sherels' response reflected his even-keeled demeanor.
"You just kind of take it year-by-year, day-by-day, so you don't really look too far ahead," Sherels said. "But this is definitely a blessing."