More than a year passed between Vikings fullback Jerome Felton’s arrest for driving drunk and the NFL’s decision to suspend him for the first three games of the 2013 season, a period that gave the team plenty of time to get to know him.
Coach Leslie Frazier said Tuesday that he is focused on what he learned about Felton, who had only recently joined the team before his arrest, in the wake of the suspension. He had nothing but positive things to say about Felton and said that he was emphasizing the positives in his own conversations with the fullback.
“We had him only a few weeks when that incident occurred,” Frazier said, via Bob Sansevere of the Pioneer Press. “We hadn’t had a chance to introduce him to our culture and how we do things. We’ve seen a lot of growth. That’s encouraging. I just tried to get him not to be as down and depressed as he was when we got the news and just maintain the level of consistency he has shown over the past few months: Don’t let this set you back.”
The span between the arrest and the suspension saw Felton make the Pro Bowl for his work clearing paths for Adrian Peterson, who averaged more than two yards per carry more when Felton was in the game last season. It also saw him get a three-year contract from Minnesota that he might not have secured if he had been suspended last year. None of that makes it any easier to lose him for three games, but it ensures he’ll move right back into his old role when his suspension comes to an end.