EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Marcus Sherels has taken the road less traveled in the NFL but is entering his sixth season with the Vikings.
The Vikings cornerback, signed as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Minnesota, said Wednesday that he's incorporated hard work and a simple mindset to lengthen his pro career.
"Just taking it day-by-day," Sherels said. "Not getting too far ahead or too far behind and just trying improve each and every day."
Known as one of the NFL's best punt returners, Sherels had the defensive highlight in Minnesota's 18-11 preseason win over Seattle last Thursday.
Sherels intercepted Seattle quarterback Trevone Boykin late in the game and raced 53 yards for a touchdown to break a tie score.
The 28-year-old Sherels said he'd prepared for a situation like that numerous times in his head.
"That's what practice is for," Sherels said. "We've gone through those situations many times.
"Our defense got good pressure on the quarterback, and he threw it to me," he added. "I was able to capitalize."
Sherels' teammates were more than enthused to see him get rewarded for his dedication, even in a preseason contest.
"There couldn't be a better guy for that to happen to," said Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen. "He deserves it. He works hard for it.
"He's a heck of a football player, and obviously good guys, good things happen to them," he added. "It's fun to see that."
Robison appreciates Zimmer's coaching style
Defensive end Brian Robison knows there's more than one way to coach up a football team to have success.
Even with the various tactics, the 10-season veteran is on board with the way that Head Coach Mike Zimmer runs his ship.
"What I love about Coach Zimmer is that he just tells you up front how it is and how it's going to be. But he's a guy that understands what it takes to win ball games," Robison said. "He's going to pound you into the ground, but at the end of the day, what he's trying to do is make sure you're the toughest team in the NFL.
"He's going to take care of you when he feels the time is right to get you fresh and get you ready for ball games, but he has a winning attitude, a competitive attitude," he added. "He coaches with a chip on his shoulder, a lot like a lot of us guys play."
Robison had 34 tackles and 11 tackles for loss last season while adding 5.0 sacks and 36 quarterback hurries.
The former fourth-round pick said he's maintained a sharp edge as he climbs into double-digit tenure in the league.
"I think the thing for me is that I've always wanted to be better and strive in the direction I want to go and be the best that I can be," Robison said. "That's the only way you can go about it in this league.
"At the end of the day, I'm the old guy, and they've got guys coming in to take my spot," he added. "For me, it's all about winning ball games and getting that championship trophy and getting able to hold that up and hopefully be able to say that I'm a Super Bowl champion."
View images from the Wednesday, Aug. 24 practice at Winter Park.
Special Guests from "The Greater Game"
Thielen had a flashback Wednesday when a number of players from Twin Cities high schools visited the Vikings morning walk-through.
"I've been in that position, so it's just fun to see them and give a chance to see what we do," Thielen said.
As part of former Vikings center Matt Birk's **“The Greater Game” campaign**, coaches and captains from nine metro schools – including Minneapolis North, Apple Valley and Eagan – took in the Vikings practice from the sidelines and were able to meet a number of the players afterward. Chad Greenway, Adrian Peterson and Teddy Bridgewater were among those who chatted candidly with the visitors.
"It's great to have them here today," Bridgewater said. "Some of my best memories are from high school football days. It's great – you build friendships, brotherhoods, at the high school level. It's good to see them out here supporting the Vikings."
Thielen, a native of Detroit Lakes, also related to the high school players and their programs. He said he enjoyed seeing how excited they were to interact with the Vikings.
"The cool part for me is, it's just football," Thielen said. "They're playing the same sport we're playing – same plays, same schemes. It's just fun that they can come out and say, 'Hey – it's not much different. It's the same game that I play in high school.' "
Barr: Second to none
Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr was a guest on NFL Network's Good Morning Football on Wednesday and talked about randomized topics, from whether or not he could become an esteemed Olympian, as well as his thoughts of going against Peterson and Bridgewater in practices daily.
Barr also weighed in on his mindset as the Vikings aim to defend the 2015 NFC North title.
"We're the defending NFC North Champions, so I think we're the team to beat in the division at the moment," Barr said. "Until that title is taken away from us, I think we are the team to beat."* *
Play of the day
Bridgewater looked crisp on several plays Wednesday, executing throws to multiple spots and hitting receivers in stride. He also maneuvered a throw around the upstretched arms of Barr to smoothly hit Stefon Diggs. It was an impressive display of working a ball through a small opening with a Pro Bowl linebacker in good position to make a play of his own.