Jerome Felton is an NFL veteran, and he’s been to a Pro Bowl.
Oh yeah, and he graduated from Furman.
That’s probably why he had no problem making a rookie — in this case Georgia Southern’s Jerick McKinnon — carry his pads for him at the beginning of training camp.
“Oh yeah, oh yeah,” McKinnon said. “That’s why he picks on me. He went to Furman. I’m like, ‘that’s not cool.’”
McKinnon knows he’s got the upper hand. When he was with Georgia Southern, he was 3-1 against the Paladins.
“He already knows it’s blue and white over purple and white,” McKinnon said.
McKinnon has proved he belongs in the NFL with Felton throughout the preseason, taking advantage of his touches and putting together some impressive stats as Minnesota finished the preseason 4-0.
He finished with 22 carries for 108 yards as the Vikings focused on four running backs — McKinnon, Matt Asiata, Joe Banyard and Dominique Williams — throughout the month’s games.
It’s been widely reported that Asiata and McKinnon are battling for the No. 2 spot behind all-everything running back Adrian Peterson, and McKinnon was able to show his versatility, waiting on his blocks up the middle and using his speed to get to the outside. McKinnon had to learn a lot of technique after coming from Jeff Monken’s triple-option offense, which is all about attacking the line of scrimmage off the snap.
McKinnon thinks he’ll make the final cut as the Vikings begin the regular season, but he’s still just taking things one day at a time.
“I should be good, but it’s a day-by-day thing,” he said. “I'm not really worried about it. I’m just focused on being a better player and taking to my coaching.”
McKinnon also helped out in the passing game and on special teams. His down-field blocking helped spring a touchdown pass, and he caught 4 passes for 12 yards.
He also returned five kickoffs for 112 yards.
“I think I had a good preseason,” He said. “I think I did all of the things my coaches asked me to.
Matt Yogus may be reached at (912) 489-4908.