Jerome Felton's rough offseason continues.
The NFL announced Monday that the Vikings' Pro Bowl fullback has been suspended without pay for the first three games of the season for violating the league's substance abuse policy.
Felton will miss the first two road games against NFC North opponents Detroit (his old club) and Chicago, as well as the Vikings' home opener Sept. 22 against the Cleveland Brown. He will be eligible to return to practice after that game and make the trip to London for the Sept. 29 game there against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
"We respect the league's decision and Jerome understands it," Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said in a statement. "Jerome is focused on returning to the playing field in week four vs. Pittsburgh."
The suspension will cost Felton $150,000 in base salary. He signed a three-year, $7.5 million free-agent contract with the Vikings in March that included a $2 million signing bonus.
He is eligible to participate in the final week of preseason, but he is coming off an emergency appendectomy and appears unlikely to play in that game. He hasn't practiced since having his surgery the final week of training camp in Mankato on Aug. 15. It was also the day he was named the league's most overpaid player by Forbes.com.
Felton was a big contributor to RB Adrian Peterson's 2,097-yard season, so his loss is sure to be felt by the Vikings, who likely will use their tight ends more as lead blockers in the backfield, a look they showed repeatedly during training camp and some in the preseason.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.
Vikings Pro Bowl FB Felton suspended
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