If Adrian Peterson is going to meet his goal of 2,500 rushing yards in 2013, he’s going to have to get off to a hot start without the help of Minnesota Vikings’ Pro Bowl fullback Jerome Felton.
On Monday, Felton was slapped with a three-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. While most players receive at least a four-game suspension for taking the “substance,” it’s assumed that Felton was either in possession of or selling them due to his lesser three-game punishment.
Already rehabbing from an emergency appendectomy, Felton was questionable to be ready to return for the Vikings’ regular season opener against the Detroit Lions. Now being forced to sit for the first three games of the 2013 campaign, Felton will have more than enough time to get back to full health before hitting the field.
Felton is coming off a career year during which he helped pave the way for Peterson’s 2,097 rushing yards while nabbing three passes. He signed a three-year, $7.5 million deal with the Vikings this offseason.
While not exactly a silver lining, Felton’s suspension opens the door for either Matt Asiata or undrafted rookie Zach Line to earn some early-season playing time with the Vikings. After an outstanding preseason showing, Line could find himself in position to make the roster with this recent setback at the position.
Felton will be eligible to return in Week 4, which should give him plenty of time to get back to 100 percent. Until then, Peterson will be without his favorite lead blocker.
It’s not a death sentence for Peterson’s lofty goal, but it’s definitely a speed bump on the way to 2,500.