Wednesday, January 28, 2015
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rhett ellison

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

[Note:  This segment is a part of a position-by-position look at what the Minnesota Vikings might be inclined to do during the 2015 free agency period.  This is the third article, focusing on the fullbacks.  In case you missed it, feel free to check out the quarterback preview here and the running backs are here.]

If there was any real potential for drama at the fullback position this offseason, it was pretty much erased when Jerome Felton made it clear that he would be opting out of his contract. By doing so, he will sign with a team that almost certainly will keep him on the final roster, something that could be in question with the Vikings despite his status as a Pro Bowl caliber player.

The Vikings will gain about $2.5 million in cap space with Felton choosing to leave and have Zach Line waiting in the wings to pick up the slack.  Tight end Rhett Ellison is also equipped to take some fullback snaps if needed.

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There were a handful of positive individual performances on Sunday, but it wasn’t enough to beat the Bears and, as a team, the Vikings played very poorly.  The team came out of their bye week very flat, with deficiencies on both sides of the ball, and the rest of the 2014 schedule will tear them apart of they don’t get better.

The past winners of the “Player of the Week” votes are:

WEEK ONE:  Cordarrelle Patterson

WEEK TWO: Harrison Smith

WEEK THREE:  Harrison Smith

WEEK FOUR: Teddy Bridgewater

WEEK FIVE:  Harrison Smith

WEEK SIX:  Linval Joseph

WEEK SEVEN: Everson Griffen

WEEK EIGHT:  Anthony Barr

WEEK NINE:  Everson Griffen

 

The nominations are a bit underwhelming this week, but that’s the way the cookie crumbles.  If you think I missed someone worthy of the nod then please feel free to hit the “other” button and leave your write-in vote in the comments section.

The nominations are…

Kyle Rudolph at Cowboys 11/3/13
Photo provided courtesy of Vikings.com

The hits just keep on coming. Kyle Rudolph, who was injured on a 31-yard touchdown pass from Christian Ponder in the third quarter of yesterday’s game against the Cowboys, could be out for a month with a fractured foot.

“I think the guy just fell on his foot when he was tackling him,” Frazier said. “It’s a very significant injury for him and for our team. That gives some other guys a chance to step up. Chase Ford, who played in the ballgame and did a good job for us, he’ll play. John Carlson will get more reps now.”

Though the amount Rudolph has been utilized this season has left something to be desired amongst many Vikings fans hoping for a big year, the loss of one of Ponder’s favorite redzone targets still hurts. As Frazier stated above, this will mean that John Carlson, the Vikings $25 million back-up tight end, will get more playing time.

Phil Loadholt, who suffered a concussion Sunday, did not practice today.

Other Vikings players who did not practice and are now dealing with injuries include: Fred Evans, Jamarca Sanford, Xavier Rhodes, Letroy Guion, Rhett Ellison and Charlie Johnson.

 

Remember how Jerome Felton’s DUI charges from last offseason just seemed to disappear?

Well, they’re back.

Felton eventually pleaded guilty to careless driving, a reduced charge, but that was his second offense which lands him in hotter water with the NFL.  Today, it was announced that Felton will be suspended for the first three games of the regular season.

Felton’s recent surgery meant he was sitting for the remainder of the preseason already, so now we know we won’t get Adrian Peterson’s lead blocker back until week four. 

The good news for Felton is that he already cashed in on last year’s Pro Bowl season by signing a three-year deal this offseason which will pay him $2.5 million in guarantees this year.  The good news for the Vikings is that this suspension is not the result of a new incident involving Felton.

If Felton’s suspension (and DeMarcus Love’s for that matter), come with roster exemptions then the Vikings will be able to store some “bubble” players on the active roster for an extended look until their veterans return.  In Love’s case, he may not return at all.

While it is unclear if Rhett Ellison will take over as the starting fullback, it certainly doesn’t hurt Zach Line’s chances of being on the opening day roster.  Line has two receiving touchdowns this preseason and has impressed overall.

For an offense that desperately needs a kick start, however, the news that Peterson’s trusted lead will miss three games is not welcomed.

We’re burning our way through the offense, and Carl will top it off by previewing the offensive line tomorrow morning, and there has been a theme throughout this “Camp Battles” feature:  Most of the competition involves the bottom of the depth chart.  The tight end position is really not much different as there projects to be very little movement near the top of the positional depth chart.

Kyle Rudolph doubled his catch total (53) in his sophomore season,  while nearly doubling his receiving yards (493) and he tripled his touchdown mark (nine).  Rudolph has been one of Christian Ponder’s favorite targets since day one and he projects to be one of the league’s better tight ends in 2013.  Not only will he remain atop the Vikings depth chart, I highly recommend adding him to your fantasy team, as well.

The oversized contract of John Carlson was restructured this offseason which should help him remain on the roster.  The Vikings signed him hoping to replicate some of the success that other teams, namely the Patriots, had been experiencing with two pass catching tight ends on the field.  “Underwhelming” is a kind way of describing Carlson’s 2012 season with the Vikings.  He only notched eight catches for 43 totals yards.  He threw a number of nice blocks throughout the season, but that wasn’t enough to keep him from being a running joke within Viking-fan circles.

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