It had been a long, hard road for fullback Jerome Felton during his NFL career. Starting with the Detroit Lions and eventually playing for the Carolina Panthers and Indianapolis Colts, Felton seemed to have found a team that had coveted his skills this past offseason when he signed with the Minnesota Vikings in free agency. With Vikings great Jim Kleinsasser having retired, there was a clear need for a blocking fullback who also has shown flashes of other skills. Felton had a history of being a bruiser and had spent time with enough teams to craft specialized skills for any team in need. So when he eventually signed with the Vikings, he had felt that all of the planets had aligned perfectly.
But something was still off. Something wasn’t right. Even after his signing, he had never quite felt like a Minnesota Viking. Until this last weekend.
As a player, switching from team to team is a tricky thing. You lose out on consistency, building teammate relationships, and trust in others. You continually are having to redefine your talents through the direction of many different coaches. Finding success can be difficult, personally, but finding yourself as a part of a team authentically is almost impossible.
This was the challenge Jerome Felton faced in his early days with the Minnesota Vikings. Signing a contract for a team just says that you will play for them. It doesn’t say anything about actually BEING a Minnesota Viking, and that’s really what everyone wants. Players
only want money want to be part of something greater, fans are too stupid to know one player from the next want the players on their favorite team to feel like family, and everyone wants to win. But we’ve all had experiences where you’ve felt not fully accepted by your peers. This distance creates challenges in every-day interactions, and can wear a person down. This is what Felton experienced after he signed his contract and went looking to rectify this.
By the first weekend in June, Felton had found his answer. After chatting with Vikings greats like Chris Cook, Caleb King, and others, Felton took it upon himself to officially become a Viking this weekend when he was arrested for suspicion of second degree driving while impaired after refusing a chemical test on Friday night. Indications are that Felton finally had discovered what it meant to be a Viking, and was willing to show his dedication to the team mentality by being arrested. Doing so showed that he was more than up to the task of donning the purple and gold.
Felton has since been released on a bail of $12,000. Officially, the team is discouraged by this news and is going through all of the appropriate channels to clarify the facts of the evening before making a decision on Felton. Unofficially, the team must be ECSTATIC to know that a new teammate who hasn’t even played a game for the team would be willing to put his and so many others’ lives at stake in order to show his dedication to the Minnesota Vikings culture. Typically, this kind of show of support may take years, if it happens at all, for some of the great Vikings. The fact that Felton took the initiative, and at such an early stage in his Vikings career, only goes to show that he is in with this team for the long haul, and dedicated to being
a selfish asshole who could have killed people winning us more games.
So, as appropriate, let’s raise our glasses to Jerome, and welcome him to the purple and gold!