Minnesota Vikings fullback Jerome Felton has officially decided to cut his time in Minneapolis short and instead enter free agency to find himself a new team, according to ESPN.
While Vikings fans will be worried at the very real possibility of losing Adrian Peterson, with the Dallas Cowboys ramping up their interest in the Texas-born superstar, the team have already lost a man who laid a lot on the line to make Peterson what he was today.
Felton did the majority of Peterson's blocking on his way to that near record breaking 2,000 yard season, earning a trip to the Pro Bowl for his efforts, but has now called his time with the Vikings to an end.
In the new offense that Norv Turner has established with the Vikings since taking over in 2014, Felton has found his role significantly reduced, seeing a lot less snaps than previous seasons.
Felton made his intentions known to opt out of the final year of his contract with the Vikings at the end of the season and followed through with that plan yesterday.
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“Want to thank the Vikings organization for the last three years, it’s been a life changing few years and I have so much respect and admiration for what they’ve done for my family and myself!"
"Vikings fans are some of the best in the league and I want to say thank you for all your support! No doors are closed but I’m excited to see what the future holds," Felton wrote on Twitter.
If you want to downplay the impact that Felton had on the Vikings run game then do it at your peril. According to ESPN Stats and Information, Peterson averaged 6.87 yards per carry in 2012 with Felton on the field, compared to 4.59 when he was out of the game. Even in 2013 and 2014, Peterson's average with Felton on the field was nearly one-third of a yard higher than when the blocking back was out of the game.
That's a pretty significant drop, and something the Cowboys should be looking at intently if they have real plans to be brining in Peterson. Getting his blocking buddy on board for around $2.5million a year could be the shrewdest move Jerry Jones makes this off-season.