Jerome Felton underwent an emergency appendectomy on Wednesday, according to numerous sources, but the recovery time is typically quick and he is expected to return to action in time for the Vikings regular season opener.

The combination of Felton’s absence, and Adrian Peterson’s extremely limited (if any) live-action reps, brings the battles for backup halfback and fullback spots to the forefront. With two starters mostly sidelined, it opens the door for others to get more reps and give the Vikings more reasons to keep them around in September, or allows the team to build a case that supports their release.

A guy like Zach Line, who scampered for a 61 yard touchdown last week after catching a Matt Cassel pass, seems in line for extra work during these three remaining preseason games.  If he can continue to make big contributions, and shows that he can be a versatile blocker and special teams player, the Vikings may have a very tough time trying to sneak him onto the practice squad.

In short, I’m looking forward to getting an extended look at the guys who play behind two Pro Bowl starters.  Who knows, if enough of the step up and have big-time showings, then maybe we start to hear a little more chatter about the possibility of Toby Gerhart being on the trading block.