Reports: Saints reach deal with ex-Viking Sherels

METAIRIE, La. -- The New Orleans Saints have agreed to a deal with longtime Minnesota Vikings punt returner Marcus Sherels, a source confirmed.

The agreement was first reported by the St. Paul Pioneer Press, which said it was a one-year deal. Terms have not been disclosed.

Sherels, 31, was the Vikings' primary punt returner for the past eight years with an average of 10.6 yards per return and a total of five touchdowns. He averaged 12.0 yards per punt return last season to finish in the NFL's top five for the third time in the last six years.

Sherels was also used as a kickoff returner on occasion. And he was a backup cornerback who started six games on defense earlier in his career. Originally undrafted out of the University of Minnesota in 2010, Sherels was tied as the longest-tenured player on the team.

New Orleans, meanwhile, could use some punt-return help after ranking in the NFL's bottom 10 in that category each of the past two years and letting return specialist Tommylee Lewis leave for the Detroit Lions in free agency. The Saints have also used key offensive players Alvin Kamara and Ted Ginn Jr. as punt returners.

Sherels also continues a trend this offseason for the Saints, who have signed three former Vikings in free agency (also running back Latavius Murray and center Nick Easton). That's in addition to former Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and former Vikings fullback Zach Line, who joined the Saints over the past two years.