By: Aj Mansour | KFAN.com
Mankato, MN - Maybe more than any other sport, football is a team game. You have eleven players on offense and eleven players on defense forming together to make a team. For that team to succeed, each player has to fulfill their specific responsibility and if somebody's not doing their job, it shows up pretty clearly on tape.
Sure some positions are more important that others, but will there ever be a time where a position could become extinct?
I present to you the full back, or at least the full back as we traditionally assess it.
In most football schemes, the fullback is the lead power blocker for the running back. Sometimes sharing duties with power running himself, the order of responsibilities for the full back go as follows.
(a) Lead power blocker for running back
(b) Pass protection for the quarter back
(c) Power Run on short distance downs
Gone are the days of Franco Harris, Mike Alstott and Larry Csonka where the FBs, while primarily serving as the bruisers, still had a large role in the offensive game plan. Today's offenses have almost primarily gone to the more agile, hybrid backs that can offer more explosion out of the backfield as a third down option but are also skilled enough to pass protect and lead block.
This new sort of mindset creates a problem for the job security of traditional full backs like the Vikings Jerome Felton, and that's no secret to him.
In Minnesota, the offense that Norv Turner is installing has adopted large portions of this new thinking. You may remember the presence of full backs in Turner's past offenses (Daryl Johnston, Stephen Davis or Lorenzo Neal), but each of those backs had more involvement in the passing and running game than Vikings incumbent full back Jerome Felton has had.
Asked about his thoughts on the full back's inclusion in a Norv Turner offense Jerome Felton said, "He's gone from using one a lot to not very much. I think it really depends on the system and the players, on if he has a full back and what that full back can do. I'm confident in my ability and I feel like whenever we run two back runs we'll be successful and that will help me get more reps."
But what if that second back is not him?
Sunday afternoon head coach Mike Zimmer met the media and discussed the importance of versatility both within his defense and within Norv's offense.
"Well the more things you can do the better chance you have to make the football team," Zimmer said. "The more flexibility that you have, the more things that you can do, the more valuable you become."
Felton has found success with the Vikings but in the past it has been a little more one-dimensional (blocking for Peterson). That leaves the door open for hybrid full back-running backs like Matt Asiata and Zach Line to put a big push in for regular playing time ahead of Felton.
Another thing that could potentially be working against Felton is his contract.
Coming to Minnesota on a one-year deal, Jerome Felton paved the way in 2012 for Adrian Peterson to rush for 2,097 yards. That performance earned Jerome a contract that carries him through the 2014 season at a price tag of $1.45 million. Currently, he's the third highest paid full back in the league behind Mike Tolbert and Marcel Reece and he may be seeing his role decrease with the new offensive scheme. This puts a target on Felton's back to prove his worth before he becomes a victim of the cap-clearing actions that take place around cut-day.
"I don't really know [if my salary will affect it]," Felton said Wednesday morning. "All that stuff factors into it but at the end of the day, you just control what you can control and that's me performing when I'm out there so that's what I'll focus on."
"If you're good enough, they'll find a place for you. That's the kind of approach I take."
The Vikings will cut their roster down to 75 players on August 26th shortly after the third preseason game and then further down to 53 players on August 30th after the fourth and final preseason game.