Vikings sign former Panthers fullback Felton

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 21, 2012 - 7:52 AM

The 6-foot, 246-pounder could help fill the void left when Jim Kleinsasser retired.

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Jerome Felton, center, played nine games and started one for the Carolina Panthers last year. The fullback signed with the Vikings on Tuesday.

Photo: Mike McCarn, ASSOCIATED PRESS

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Six months after trying to claim him off waivers, the Vikings finally got their fullback.

Jerome Felton, 25, signed after visiting Winter Park on Tuesday. Terms of the deal weren't immediately known.

The 6-foot, 246-pounder joins a run-oriented team that's trying to beef up its beef at the point of attack. Two days earlier, the Vikings signed 5-11, 240-pound halfback/fullback hybrid Lex Hilliard. Throw in 6-2, 241-pound incumbent Ryan D'Imperio, and the Vikings will head to Mankato with at least 727 pounds of fullback competition, which might come in handy considering the recently-retired Jim Kleinsasser is no longer around as a Plan B.

Felton was a fifth-round draft pick of the Detroit Lions in 2008. He played three years and started 16 games for the Lions before being released before last season. The Carolina Panthers were awarded a waiver claim on him, beating out the Vikings, among other teams.

Felton played nine games with one start in Carolina last season. He carried the ball three times for 10 yards and had two catches for 24 yards before being released. He then played five games in Indianapolis after being claimed by the Colts. He didn't touch the ball in Indianapolis.

Felton has started 19 of 56 NFL games and has just 416 yards from scrimmage (136 rushing, 280 receiving) and no touchdowns. The latter must feel strange considering Felton set Furman's school records for career touchdowns (67), career rushing touchdowns (63) and single-season rushing touchdowns (23 in 2006).

The Vikings also announced that nose tackle Letroy Guion has signed his contract. It's a three-year, $9 million deal with $2.5 million guaranteed.

Meanwhile, the team met with San Francisco 49ers receiver/returner Ted Ginn Jr. on Tuesday at Winter Park. No decision was made.

Offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz, who visited the Vikings on Monday, spent Tuesday with the 49ers in San Francisco.

Schwartz tweeted positive reactions to both visits. He said he'll now weigh his options.

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