There’s no question that Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson has had a phenomenal season, especially given that he’s coming back from such a big injury. But he’s also had a little help from his friends during his comeback. While he hasn’t had the luxury of a big-time quarterback and the loss of wide receiver Percy Harvin didn’t help, a strong offensive line and a great fullback in Jerome Felton have.
Jerome Felton joined KFAN in Minneapolis with Dan Barreiro to discuss the transition from ball-carrier to fullback, coming to the realization that if he wanted an NFL career he needed to be a fullback, convincing Adrian Peterson that having a fullback was a good thing, if the fullback position is dying and having the mindset to be a good blocker.
How do you make the transition from being a ball-carrier to a fullback?:
“I came into the league with Detroit and my running backs coach there was Sam Gash, and he really kind of instilled what being a fullback means and basically it’s, you’re the tailback’s bodyguard. … I owe him a lot for my development playing fullback.”
Was it tough to come to the realization that this was your path to an NFL career?:
“When I first came into the league, obviously I felt like I could do some different things, whether it was catching the ball out of the backfield or running the ball. But I knew my position was going to be fullback and I was going to have to work off of that. To come here and be able to block for somebody like Adrian, it’s not too hard of a transition. Obviously my statistics aren’t so much numbers, but it’s what the tailback does. … This is potentially a historic year and I’ve enjoyed it.”
Peterson stated early on his career he felt better being a single-back running back. How did it come to be that you guys have worked so well together?:
“I think our relationship has developed throughout the year. I think one thing with Adrian, and it’s probably the same thing with most great backs, they like what works, and we’ve had a lot of success out of the two-back [formation] this year. I think, as we’ve went along this season and developed, he’s become more comfortable with it. My job is just to make life easier on him.”
Are fullbacks a dying breed?:
“I think most teams have one. I’m not really sure of any teams besides maybe New England … Detroit. But obviously the majority of the teams do. … As in most things in the NFL, everything somehow starts coming back around, and I think this position — you look at the success we’ve had, you look at the success the 49ers have had — as teams have more and more success using a fullback, I think it will definitely come back around.”
Were you a good blocker in high school and college or did you have to develop that skill?:
“In high school, I didn’t do much blocking. In college, you hate to say this, but I felt like when I wanted to block well, I could. I think I always had it in me. But like I said, I give a lot of credit to Sam Gash. Playing fullback is more of a mindset.”
Listen to Jerome Felton on KFAN in Minneapolis here (Interview begins at 26:35)