A small off-to-the-side little news tidbit that snuck on to Twitter without a sound in the dead of night but is nonetheless intriguing: According to NFL insider Adam Caplan, the Vikings were one of at least two teams that put in a claim on fullback Jerome Felton, who was recently cut by the Lions. The Carolina Panthers by virtue of their worse 2010 record were awarded the player. Rotoworld says the Eagles also placed a claim on Felton.
This story is intriguing because it confirms our suspicions that the Vikings are not 100% satisfied with their current array of fullback options. Ryan D’Imperio came into camp as the presumptive starter, but hasn’t done anything to particularly impress anyone so far in the preseason, a circumstance that has allowed UDFA Matt Asiata to sneak into the conversation.
Ultimately the Vikings might opt for neither D’Imperio nor Asiata, choosing instead to give tight ends Jeff Dugan and Jim Kleinsasser extra work at fullback. Both Dugan and Kleinsasser have experience as blocking backs and both are better receivers than either of the full-time fullbacks currently on the roster. This option would free up a roster spot which the Vikings could then use on tight end Allen Reisner, a UDFA who has turned heads since the start of camp.
Had the Vikings been awarded Felton, they would’ve gotten themselves a solid blocking back who would not have necessarily represented an upgrade from their current stable of fullbacks in the receiving department. Obviously the Vikings are looking mostly for blocking from that position and don’t think D’Imperio or Asiata is getting it done. In the end, I have a sneaking hunch they will opt for the two-headed Dugan/Kleinsasser monster at tight end/fullback/h-back given those players’ proficiency at run blocking and their ability to occasionally pull in a pass on a sneaky play action play in short yardage.
Keeping Reisner would give them another receiving tight end option who, if you believe the mild hype, could ultimately become the #2 tight end behind Kyle Rudolph.