Jerome Felton will remain a Vikings. He never wanted to go anywhere else.
If anyone understands the value of a true fit, it's the 26-year-old fullback who spent his first four seasons bouncing around the NFL. From Detroit to Carolina to Indianapolis. For four seasons, Felton couldn't find a heightened role.
Then, in the spring of 2012, the Vikings dipped into free agency and offered Felton a one-year opportunity to showcase his strengths. They told him they needed a bruising fullback to maximize the production of running back Adrian Peterson. The coaching staff and front office believed Peterson would be at his best with a lead blocker. And they believed Felton had the unselfishness, toughness and vision to be that guy. Then, over 16 games, Felton played a significant role in aiding Peterson to his best season yet, a 2,097-yard rushing campaign that few saw coming.
Peterson won the MVP award. Felton earned a trip to the Pro Bowl.
When the season ended, Felton told the Vikings and General Manager Rick Spielman that he wanted to be back. The Vikings promised to make it happen. And on Tuesday afternoon, the two sides finally hammered out the business end of the reunion with Felton agreeing to a three-year deal and re-signing with the organization. Felton's deal coudl be worth up to $7.5 million in total. And his return to Minnesota should not be taken for granted. His efforts in 2012 were a big deal. And his understanding that opportunities like the one here, in a run-first offense and the league MVP stealing the show, just don't come around often.
News of Felton's deal gave the Vikings five players that they re-signed Tuesday. The others: right tackle Phil Loadholt, receiver Jerome Simpson, safety Jamarca Sanford and offensive lineman Joe Berger.