The punt return game will suffer
In 2018 Marcus Sherels finished sixth in the NFL averaging 12 yards per punt return. An undrafted free agent from the University of Minnesota, Sherels played nine seasons with the Vikings and at the beginning of almost every season, he found himself on the bubble. And for almost every season he played on a one-year contract. Perhaps he got fed up having to prove it to his home state team every year.
Earning just over $8 million in nine seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, Sherels leaves as the franchise leader in punt returns (231), punt return yards (2,447) and punt returns for a touchdown (5). His career average of 10.6 yards is the highest of any Vikings with at least 27 punt returns.
The most the Vikings ever paid Sherels was $2 million per season in 2016 and 2017. Last season he made only $1.4 million, the pay cut may have contributed with the decision to sign with the New Orleans Saints.
So who takes over the punt return duties? As Adam Patrick laid out last month the options currently on the roster include cornerback Mike Hughes, wide receiver Chad Beebe and running back Ameer Abdullah. Combined these three have two punt returns in the NFL—of course before Sherels started his run as a specialist extraordinaire, he didn’t have any either.