This past offseason, the Minnesota Vikings lost the best punt returner in franchise history when Marcus Sherels signed a one-year free agent contract with the New Orleans Saints. With Organized Team Activities underway for the purple, it appears that a fan favorite from last season has the inside track to the job.
In an article that is, largely, about free agent wide receiver Jordan Taylor, Mark Craig of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune dropped in this little tidbit.
“I think I might be the tallest punt returner in NFL history,” Taylor said after spending Tuesday’s OTA as the No. 2 punt returner behind Chad Beebe, the early front-runner to replacing Marcus Sherels, who owned the job for eight seasons.
Yes, it appears that Chad Beebe is going to get the first opportunity to replace Sherels as the primary punt returner for the Vikings.
Beebe spent the first half of the 2018 season on the practice squad, and got called up before the Vikings’ Week 9 matchup against the Detroit Lions. He caught four passes for 39 yards last season, but also missed five games with a hamstring issue. He didn’t return any punts in 2018, but did handle those duties in college at Northern Illinois.
I know that people thought I made too much of Sherels’ departure when it happened, but I really think that he’s going to be very tough to replace. A lot of people took what Sherels did for granted, and now the Vikings don’t have the luxury of knowing that Sherels and his steady abilities will be going back every time an opponent punts the ball away. Although Beebe has the inside track on the job now, based on the article linked above, there’s still likely going to be some pretty solid competition for it during the rest of OTAs, minicamp, and into Training Camp as well.