Adrian Peterson never used to like fullbacks in front of him. That was until last year when the Minnesota Vikings brought in Jerome Felton. In his first season in Minnesota, Felton cleared the way for Peterson all the way to the Pro Bowl. Both players had career-seasons and the Vikings are hoping for more of the same in 2013. Those hopes were dashed a bit on Wednesday, when Felton had to undergo an appendectomy.
The fullback’s prognosis is good so far, but he will miss at least the rest of the preseason. The Vikings expect him to be ready for the season opener on September 8th, but there are certainly no guarantees coming off of surgery. If Felton does happen to miss the first game or two of the regular season, it would be a huge blow for Minnesota.
In the meantime, second-year TE/FB Rhett Ellison will take his place, but rookie Zach Line figures to benefit the most from Felton’s absence.
Line got everyone’s attention in the preseason opener as he took a short throw all the way to the house on a 61-yard play. Now with Felton out of the picture for a little while, Line figures to get a lot more work in the preseason. Leslie Frazier has acknowledged the team wants to see what the rookie can do as a blocking back – so here’s his golden opportunity.
Ellison on the other hand, is still more likely to start the season at FB if Felton is still not ready. Over time, though, Ellison could become the team’s backup tight end if John Carlson can’t get it together. So again, Line may have some opportunities down the road to pave the way for the game’s best running back. But for now, he has to prove he’s worthy of a roster spot.