In Monday’s 2 p.m. press conference, head coach Mike Zimmer addressed the media and announced that center John Sullivan underwent another surgery and is “unlikely” to return during the 2015 season.
In other words I wouldn’t count on seeing John Sullivan play again this season
— Chris Tomasson (@christomasson) October 26, 2015
In early September, the Vikings placed Sullivan on Injured Reserve after he underwent back surgery; the team announced he was designated to return but would likely miss at least eight weeks. Sullivan hadn’t practiced since mid August due to back spasms, and it now seems the problems will be more long term than originally thought.
Veteran Joe Berger has been standing in for the injured Sullivan. Although not a center by nature, Berger has experience at different spots on the line and made the most sense to rotate in. Berger started nine games at right guard during the 2014 season, and he signed a two-year contract with Minnesota in March.
The Vikings also recently acquired rookie center Nick Easton in a trade that sent linebacker Gerald Hodges to San Francisco, but with no playing time under his belt thus far, it seems most probable that Easton is more of a long-term vision and Berger will finish out the season in Sullivan’s place.
While Berger has been doing an okay job, all things considered, losing Sullivan for what will likely be the entire season proves another major blow for the Vikings offensive line. The unit is already functioning without starting tackle Phil Loadholt and has had its share of issues in the first half of the season. With quarterback protection looking under par most games and the run blocking even less effective, here’s to hoping there are no additional injuries moving forward.