Craig: Vikings' Felton finds fullback fulfilling as he leads way for Peterson

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 4, 2013 - 12:44 PM

His dominant performance Sunday showed why he was named an All-Pro a year ago.

hide

Fullback Jerome Felton, celebrating an Adrian Peterson touchdown last month at Dallas, has yet to take a handoff in his two seasons with the Vikings, but he retains hope he will get a chance someday.

Photo: NAM Y. HUH • Associated Press,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

With all due respect to fullbacks, there are no little boys who dream of becoming the next Jerome Felton.

Not even Jerome Felton dreamed of becoming Jerome Felton, reigning NFL All-Pro fullback.

“I played soccer until fifth grade,” the second-year Vikings player said Monday. “I thought I’d give it a try in sixth grade. From that moment, I was telling everybody that I was going to the NFL.”

Even as a little kid, Felton was a big kid. But good luck finding anyone in Madisonville, Tenn., who remembers him saying the words “NFL fullback.”

“My favorite player was Jerome Bettis,” Felton said. “That’s who I wanted to be.”

And that’s who he resembled through high school and as Furman’s career scoring leader.

“I was the big back who moved the chains,” Felton said. “That was the role I pictured myself having in the NFL. It hasn’t quite turned out that way, but I’m making the best of it.”

Felton wasn’t complaining. He not only accepts his role, he embraces it. And if you don’t believe it, go back and watch the Vikings’ 23-20 overtime victory over the Bears on Sunday.

Even without the benefit of film review, it was obvious Felton stood out at a position that rarely stands out. To those who make their living breaking down NFL film, Felton had 38 of the best snaps a fullback can string together in one game.

ProFootballFocus.com gave Felton a grade of plus-6.8. The only fullback to earn a higher grade from PFF came in 2009 when Miami’s Lousaka Polite posted a plus-7.1 against the Jets.

“Felton consistently demolished safeties and linebackers alike,” PFF wrote. “You’ll struggle to find such a dominant performance from a running back/fullback combination as this.”

Extra muscle

According to PFF, Adrian Peterson gained 112 of his 211 yards before making contact with a Bears defender. Obviously, Felton, who was a pivotal part of Peterson’s 2,097-yard MVP season a year ago, was a key part of that.

“I had asked Jerome in pregame, ‘Do you feel like you’re ready? A lot’s going to be on your shoulders today,’ ” coach Leslie Frazier said. “He said, ‘Coach, I’m bringing all my tools to the game today. I’m not leaving anything in the toolshed.’ I shared that with our team before the game, that everybody needed to have that same attitude and that same approach. He played a heck of a game.”

The Vikings figured they could outmuscle a Bears defense missing six starters. And when you’re looking for extra muscle at the point of attack, it helps having a 6-foot, 248-pound All-Pro fullback with deceptively quick feet and a love for his job.

“You know, you hear a lot about how the fullback is a dying breed,” Felton said. “But look at teams that are successful this year. The 49ers, they use the fullback a lot. Seattle uses the fullback a lot. Even Indy is using the fullback a lot. The Saints use one. A good fullback is a favorable position to have.”

‘Just follow me’

There were two core play calls that Felton used to stand out on Sunday. The first is called “37 Power.” Ask Bears safety Craig Steltz how hard Felton hits on that one.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Atlanta - S. Miller 12:07 PM
Toronto - D. Norris
Chicago WSox - J. Quintana 12:08 PM
Detroit - S. Greene
Miami - T. Koehler 12:10 PM
NY Mets - M. Harvey
NY Yankees - M. Pineda 12:10 PM
Tampa Bay - M. Andriese
Philadelphia - D. Buchanan 12:35 PM
Washington - S. Strasburg
Baltimore - M. Gonzalez 12:35 PM
Boston - R. Porcello
Milwaukee - M. Garza 12:35 PM
Pittsburgh - G. Cole
LA Angels - G. Richards 1:10 PM
Houston - S. Feldman
Cleveland - T. House 1:10 PM
Minnesota - T. May
Oakland - S. Kazmir 1:10 PM
Kansas City - D. Duffy
San Diego - A. Cashner 1:20 PM
Chicago Cubs - J. Lester
Arizona - J. Hellickson 3:05 PM
San Francisco - T. Hudson
Colorado - E. Butler 3:10 PM
Los Angeles - B. McCarthy
Texas - R. Detwiler 3:10 PM
Seattle - J. Paxton
Cincinnati - M. Leake 7:05 PM
St. Louis - A. Wainwright
Boston 2:00 PM
Cleveland
Brooklyn 4:30 PM
Atlanta
Portland 7:00 PM
Memphis
San Antonio 9:30 PM
LA Clippers
Washington 11:00 AM
NY Islanders
Nashville 2:00 PM
Chicago
Montreal 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Vancouver 9:00 PM
Calgary
New England 4:00 PM
Philadelphia
Portland 6:00 PM
New York City
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago NoonX13-9

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Where will Adrian Peterson be playing in 2015?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close