This news is bound to please some Vikings fans while infuriating others.
Either way, the Vikings have given a huge vote of confidence to starting center John Sullivan by announcing a five year extension worth $25 million, with $10 million in guaranteed money.
The 2008 sixth round pick was scheduled to become a free agent after this season ends, but the Vikings apparently feel that the Notre Dame product is playing at a high enough level to remain in place moving into the future. He is now, quite possibly, the only starting offensive lineman that has reasonable job security with the Vikings heading into next season.
Sullivan sat behind Matt Birk for one year, had two more injury plagued seasons, and has been somewhat reliable this season. When he leaves the lineup during an injury, the drop off has been noticeable over the last few seasons.
“It’s very humbling,” Sullivan said of the extension. “It means a lot that they’ve put faith in me as a player and that I’ve been able to go out there and prove to them that I can get the job done at a critical position like center. I’m incredibly motivated to just do everything I can to live up to this contract and help us win as many games as possible.”
Sullivan’s health and increased strength might provide optimism for the offensive line situation, but there are sure to be some disappointed fans that were hoping to see a complete retooling of the line personnel in 2012.
“(He’s) really become a leader in a lot of ways at the center position for our offensive line,” Leslie Frazier said of his starting center.