Early returns: Rookie Smith-Marsette gives Vikings a spark


EAGAN, Minn. (AP) — Rookie Ihmir Smith-Marsette has given the Minnesota Vikings a spark on special teams. He had a 41-yard kickoff return and a 17-yard punt return in their last exhibition game. The wide receiver who was drafted in the fifth round out of Iowa was the Big Ten Return Specialist of the Year in 2018. He has shown the kind of courage and instinct that’s necessary to succeed in that phase of the game. The Vikings need upgrades in all facets of their special teams, after hitting a new low last year.