MANKATO, Minn. (WCCO) — Jerome Felton bounced around the NFL, with four different teams the last four years. But when he signed a one-year contract with the Vikings before last season, something clicked.
The journeyman has now found a prominent place in Minnesota.
His first year with the Vikings turned out to be a pretty good year, paving the way for Adrian Peterson’s 2,097-yard season, and him earning a trip to the Pro Bowl.
“Obviously we like running the football, and I don’t think that’s going to change any time in the near future,” Felton said. “So I think it’s the perfect situation for me.”
The Vikings rewarded Felton in the offseason with a three-year, 7.5 million dollar contract because they know exactly how important he is to the offense.
“Adrian’s production had a lot to do with that,” Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said. “But Jerome had a lot to do with Adrian’s production. When we looked at our offseason study after the 2011 season, we realized Adrian was very productive when he had someone in front of him … (Felton) provided something that we were lacking.”
Felton said he’s just trying to be the best he can.
“I want to be the best fullback in the league,” he said.
And the number of fullbacks in the league keeps getting smaller.
“Obviously you have more teams running spread offenses,” Felton said. “So there’s probably not as many fullbacks.”
According to spotrac.com, there are only eight fullbacks in the entire league averaging at least a million dollars a year. There are more long snappers than that. Guys like Felton have never been rarer. But his value to the Vikings has never been higher.
“What Jerome did was perfect for what we wanted to be able to accomplish in our run game,” Frazier said.
And now the level of expectation goes even higher.
“Once you make a Pro Bowl and they extend you, they expect more out of you,” Felton said. “So I expect more out of myself. So I’m just going to keep working hard every day, doing what they ask me to do, and keep getting better.”