Felton apologizes to Vikings, fans

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Following his weekend arrest for a DWI, Minnesota Vikings fullback Jerome
Felton took part in the organized team activities this week and expressed his
apologies for adding to the team’s recent string of run-ins with law
enforcement.

Felton, 25, was arrested and jailed early Saturday morning for second-degree
DWI. He refused to submit to a chemical test and was charged with the gross
misdemeanor. Felton, who was released later in the day on $12,000 bail, was
reportedly waiting at the drive-thru lane at a McDonald’s in Eden Prairie when
he was given field sobriety tests and taken into custody.

“I just want to sincerely apologize to the fans, No. 1, organization and
everyone around the Vikings,” Felton said Wednesday. “I’ll handle
everything that comes my way, the consequences of whatever happens. I’ll move
forward and be positive from here on out. I can assure the organization and
fans of that.”

Felton was signed to a one-year, $700,000 contract by Minnesota in March and
has a chance to win the Vikings’ fullback job. He would fill a void as a lead
blocker in the wake of Jim Kleinsasser’s retirement. Felton split 2011 between
the Carolina Panthers and Indianapolis Colts, playing 14 games with three
carries and four catches.

Felton, a fifth-round pick by the Detroit Lions in 2008, was eager to address
the incident with the team.

“That’s the first thing I did was talk with (coach Leslie) Frazier and try
to contact everybody within the organization, let them know I apologize for
being in one of those types of situations and shed negative light on this
team,” Felton said. “Everybody is trying to be positive, and the
team’s doing a great job of that, and I definitely don’t want to be the person
that has a negative influence.”

Felton is scheduled to appear at 8:15 a.m. CT on July 18 at the Ridgedale court
in Minnetonka, Minn. He noted the services provided by the league and team for
such instances and regrets not making the call. The Vikings have a hotline
players can call to receive courtesy rides and are advised to use the service
instead of putting themselves in bad situations.

“There were some personal discussions, but just about making good
decisions, not putting yourself in any type of situation to where negative
things can happen, and just being smart when it comes to that,” Felton
said of the message he received from coaches. “The Vikings do a great job
of educating us and putting programs in place to keep us out of situations.
I’ve got to be smart. We’ve got to be smart as a team to take advantage of all
those sources.”

On two separate occasions last year, Vikings were arrested on DWI charges.
Quarterback Rhett Bomar was charged during training camp and released later
after not making the team. Safety Tyrell Johnson had his DWI during the season
and returned to play. Johnson signed with the Miami Dolphins as a free agent
this offseason.

Minnesota also released backup running back Caleb King earlier this offseason
after he was charged with assault.

“You’re always looking at the people you’re trying to sign,” Frazier
said. “That’s probably the No.1 thing you take a look at. We’ll always try
to see what we’re doing and how we’re doing it, and try to make it better both
on and off the football field.

“I also know, when you’re dealing with young men at this age there’s a
possibility of this happening. It wouldn’t surprise me. … You hope it doesn’t
happen, but you always have to be aware that there’s a possibility it could
happen.”

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