Oct 27, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson (84) returns the opening kickoff 109 yards for a touchdown against the Green Bay Packers in the first quarter at Mall of America Field at H.H.H. Metrodome. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
The Vikings have had a hard time on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball. One part of the Vikings game that has never failed to impress are the return specialists. Here are the stars of punt and kick returns for Minnesota:
- Marcus Sherels – Punt Returns
Nov 3, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Marcus Sherels (35) returns a punt against the Dallas Cowboys at AT
Sherels has been on fire (not literally) when returning punts. He is first in the NFL this season in yards per punt return at 16.3 yards per attempt. He has even brought one of those back to the house. Sherels not only has been good in the return game, but when he has had to step in on defense, he has played well to give players like Chris Cook and A.J. Jefferson time to heal their wounds.
- Cordarrelle Patterson – Kickoff Returns
Sep 15, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson (84) returns the opening kickoff for a touchdown against the Chicago Bears during the first quarter at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
Patterson has been electrifying when he gets the chance to return a kick. The Washington Redskins even kicked away from him last week because they didn’t want him to get a return against them. They were smart to do that, because Patterson leads the NFL with an average of 35.2 yards per kickoff return. He also leads the NFL with two kickoff returns for touchdowns. He has been getting more involved in the team’s offense as well, getting his first receiving touchdown last week on offense against the Redskins.
With how much the team has struggled in other areas of the game, it’s good to know that special teams will do their best to give the team optimal field position. Now the Vikings just need to make the best of their opportunities on offense and defense.