Even before camp began, Jerome Felton seemed like a good candidate to be squeezed out of a job in Minnesota. After a couple days of practice, the feeling should only be growing that Felton’s days with the Vikings are numbered.
There are several harsh realities staring Felton in the face as he competes at Mankato this time around:
1. Norv Turner likes fullbacks who can do more than just block. Felton has never been much more than strictly a blocking fullback.
2. The Vikings have some interesting alternatives on the roster, including Zach Line and Rhett Ellison.
3. Jerome Felton already had his contract re-negotiated, which is never a sign that your organization is high on you.
Those things were all true going in, and that’s why a lot of people were already reading the tea leaves and seeing an exit for Felton.
Various comments from coaches the last couple days have only reinforced the impression that Felton is doomed to be the odd-man-out.
Foremost is the early emergence of Matt Asiata as a Norv Turner favorite. Turner has spoken highly of Asiata’s athleticism and versatility, and right now it seems Asiata is the favorite to win the #2 running back spot.
With Asiata all but securing a spot, it becomes a matter of numbers. How many backs will the Vikings keep? Can you justify keeping a back like Felton who brings little in the way of versatility, when you have players like Ellison and Line who can do multiple things?
With roster spots at a premium, a single-skill player like Felton starts to look like a luxury the team can’t afford.
It’s true that Felton has been a great help to Adrian Peterson during his time in Minnesota, as Peterson himself has said, but the situation has clearly evolved. Going in, it looked like Felton was in trouble. Now you look at the situation and you can’t see how the Vikings possibly end up keeping him.