It’s a story as old as time. One man does the work, another man gets the credit.
Now, that isn’t the complete story here, but it is part of it.
Adrian Peterson is running wild. If he wasn’t on a football field, the police would be after him for disobeying rules of the road and surpassing the speed limit.
But he’s on the football field. And he’s announcing his presence with authority.
His resume speaks for itself. Peterson is 102 yards away from 2,000 rushing yards for the 2012 season. He’s 207 yards away from tying Eric Dickerson’s 28-year-old record for most rushing yards in one season.
The former Oklahoma Sooner has already set his new single-season rushing record with one game to go and is running with a tenacity unseen during the previous five years of his career.
And while Peterson deserves credit for working his tail off to recover from a torn ACL and MCL, there’s one particular player who hasn’t gotten the credit he deserves.
Felton is Minnesota’s fullback. Those who don’t follow the Vikings likely haven’t heard that name before now. But learn his name. He ought to be known.
Peterson makes plenty of plays on pure talent. He’ll bowl over a defender, make a cut that leaves a defender nursing a broken ankle or gallop down the field at such a high speed that the opposition is never in a position to make a play.
There are plenty of runs where Peterson’s individual talent isn’t enough. He needs help.
The fifth-year pro from Furman doesn’t warrant attention for his stats (zero rushes and two receptions for 18 yards). He deserves attention for the holes he helps create for Peterson.
Minnesota doesn’t always run plays with a partner in the backfield for Peterson, but when it does, it chooses Felton.
At 6’0” and 248 pounds, Felton has plenty of size to overpower an opposing linebacker or safety and just enough to fend off a penetrating defensive lineman for the second Peterson needs to scurry past the line of scrimmage.
Felton won’t make the Pro Bowl. He won’t win any team award. This article may be the most credit he gets all season, and he deserves it.
As Peterson’s lead blocker, he warrants more credit than he gets for helping make Peterson’s season possible.
Peterson’s the man, but Felton’s the man in the shadow making sure that shadow cast is as big as it can be.