Late Friday night, Vikings fullback Jerome Felton was arrested by Eden Prairie police and charged with second-degree driving while impaired. He is currently in the Hennepin County jail with his bail set at $12,000.
The Vikings have just released a statement on the matter.
Said team spokesperson Jeff Anderson: "We are aware of the situation and working to gather more information. We'll have no further comment at this time."
So what does this mean for Felton's future with the team? It's too hard to tell right now. The Vikings will return to the practice field Tuesday for their next session of organized team activities. And the Wednesday OTA session will be open to the media. Which means, at the very least, head coach Leslie Frazier will have to address the matter. It will be interesting to see if Felton will be back on the field with the team next week.
For perspective, when the Vikings signed Felton as a free agent in March, the move was generally greeted with a "Who's Jerome Felton?" reaction. After all, Felton is far from a household name. He has been on three different NFL teams (the Lions, Panthers and Colts) during his first four NFL seasons.
The Vikings have hopes that Felton can compete for and win the starting fullback job for the 2012 season. Ryan D'Imperio is the incumbent there. And fourth-round pick Rhett Ellison also has a skillset to play both fullback and tight end in a Jim Kleinsasser-mold.
Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave has vowed to use more two tight end sets in 2012 and has even hinted at going with three tight ends from time to time. That would likely mean using Ellison in a fullback-type role while freeing up Kyle Rudolph and John Carlson to show off their pass-catching ability.
It's never been expected that Felton would have anywhere near a headliner role this season. Yet it will be interesting to see how the Vikings react to his Friday night transgression. In early May, the team wasted little time releasing running back Caleb King after he was arrested on assault charges. The Vikings were far more supportive of cornerback Chris Cook, who was arrested last October on charges of felony domestic assault. Cook was suspended by the team for a brief period, then reinstated but exiled away from team activities. And when he was acquitted of all charges in March, he was welcomed back to the team with open arms.