Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


Norv Turner wants a 'physical presence' at fullback

Posted by: Matt Vensel under Vikings Updated: July 27, 2014 - 10:34 AM

Should Jerome Felton expect a different or decreased role with Norv Turner running the offense?

It’s a fair question considering the Browns, whose offense Turner coordinated last season, used two-back formations on just 5.2 percent of their snaps in 2013, according to Pro Football Focus. That was one of the lowest figures in the league, though the Browns didn’t exactly have a bruiser like Felton -- or any established fullback for that matter -- and they also played from behind a lot.

But the Vikings, who used two backs on 24.1 percent of their snaps a season ago, have this Peterson guy who I hear is pretty good, and he can be even more dangerous when someone is plowing a lane for him. That’s why Turner is saying that the Felton should still have a role here.

“He is going to have to block and block,” Turner said. “We talked the other night to our team, we need to have a physical presence. Jerome brings that type of presence, and we are still going to have a certain percentage of two backs in the backfield, or spread out with the two backs in the backfield, that personnel group, if it gives the team problems. ... I think that there’s game situations where you need to have a fullback that can go pound it a little bit.”

Even he again uses the fullback sparingly, a good one is invaluable in short-yardage and goal line.

Felton, a 2012 Pro Bowler, will have youngster Zach Line nipping at his heels down in Mankato. But regardless of whether they keep Felton, Line or both, Turner says the fullback will have a role.

“When we are playing the way we are capable of playing, we are going to be a physical running team,” Turner said. “We’re going to be a power running team.”

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