Note: For all our hunting/fishing Vikings fans out there, take a second and check out Sullivan’s post-Vikings passion, StevesHunts.com!If you’re looking for a dream hunting/fishing excursion they’re the leader in their industry for a reason!
Former Vikings center John Sullivan stops by to chat about the 2020 And 2009 Vikings, blocking for AP, his thoughts on Zone Blocking, Bradbury and much, much more!
Sullivan has turned his post-NFL career on one of his other passions, creating amazing dream hunting excursions via Steve’s Outdoor Adventures!
Following an incredible football career that spanned five years at Notre Dame and eleven seasons in the NFL, John’s career ended with a start in the Super Bowl for the L.A. Rams. Now he follows his passion and transitions into a career in the outdoor industry as a hunting & fishing consultant. Contact John with your questions about where to book your next hunting or fishing excursion.
Click Here to learn more on StevesHunts.com!
Or contact them online by Clicking Here!
Click for more info (this is just a sample of the types of adventure’s they offer!):
Without further ado, let’s get into the interview!
Having been a part of AP’s historic 2012 season, how would you compare AP to what you see from Dalvin Cook?
Obviously what Adrian accomplished in 2012 was ridiculous. To rush for almost 2100 yards and come 9 yards short of the rushing record, which is a record thats really reflective of a different era of offensive football is remarkable.
He was incredibly deserving of the MVP award he received that year and in this day and age its nearly impossible for someone other than a QB to win MVP.
The guy who has been closest since Adrian was Todd Gurley with the Rams in 2017 and when Todd didn’t win MVP that year I figured its now hopeless for Running Backs.
That being said, Dalvin is incredibly talented and has all the tools to have an MVP caliber season. When I watch Dalvin I love a number of things about his game, he has incredible vision, great cutting ability, he’s a physical runner, top end speed to be a true home run hitter, great receiving skills out of the backfield,
I believe he’s the best running back in the game right now. I don’t want to compare Adrian’s and Dalvin’s games because it would do each of them a disservice, they’re both incredibly talented players. They make everyone around them better.
Speaking of the current Vikings and their offensive line philosophy… what do you think about the zone blocking scheme the Vikes employ?
I’m not studying the Vikings schemes on a play by play basis so it’s difficult to critique the scheme. As I’m answering this I think the Vikings are 3rd in the league in rushing right? Something is working and that isn’t just because you have studs like Dalvin and Mattison.
People love to heap praise on a great running back when things are going well and say its all him, and then when things are going badlythey generally love to blame the O Line or the scheme.
The truth is that running the football whether successfully or unsuccessfully is reflective of all 11 guys and the coaching staff. Can individual plays be the result of an incredible effort from one player?
Of course they can be but on a consistent basis successfully running the ball is about game planning and execution by the coaching staff and the 11 players of the field.
I’ve talked with Mike Tice about the line and he remains skeptical about its ability to create a clean pocket for Cousins/in general… What do you think?
Mike Tice has coached a lot of football so I’m not going to fully disagree with him. Not every Offensive lineman or overall unit is going to be equally adept at both run blocking and pass blocking.
I’m also not sure if Mike is strictly talking about the drop back passing game vs the play action passing game because with how they run the ball the Vikes should have one of the top Play Action passing attacks in the NFL.
Like I said before the OL is not solely responsible for that success rushing the football but they’re certainly a huge part of it and that should alleviate the burden of having to drop back every time you’re looking to throw the ball down the field.
Sometimes offenses do get behind schedule though and need to be able to drop back and protect in order to pick up a 3rd and long when the defenses know you’re throwing it and have their ears pinned back to get after the QB. Ultimately with the athleticism of the DL in the league today, that’s a tough situation for every offense in the NFL, not just the Vikings.
What do you think of Bradbury’s game?
I’ve heard nothing but great things about Bradbury since he was drafted. Whether that’s from former teammates of mine who are still there or people in the organization that I’ve stayed in touch with, everyone talks about his confidence and natural leadership ability.
The Center spot has so much responsibility that confidence at that spot is key, if you question yourself or shy away from being the guy that has to make a call that has game winning or losing implications the other guys on the field can feel that.
NFL players are great at smelling out weakness or reacting positively to strength. From a physical standpoint I think Bradbury has only continued to get better.
Of course there were early struggles but he plays in a division with a lot of elite interior DL and starting in the interior offensive line as a rookie is tough physically.
He’s clearly physically strong and has elite athleticism which is especially apparent in the screen game. I look at him and think of Jason Kelce, a guy who has been one of the top Cs in the NFL for a long time. I’d expect Garrett will be there in the next few seasons and stay there for a long time.
What’s your favorite memory from the 2009 season?
2009 was a very special season of Vikings football. It ended in maybe the most heart breaking loss of all time, 1998 not withstanding, but I think that might make it even more memorable than if things had turned out differently.
There are so many great memories from that year, MNF at home against the Packers, Favre to Greg Lewis, beating Green Bay at Lambeau, crazy games at Pittsburgh and at home against the Ravens, Dallas at home in the playoffs. I’ll give a cheesy answer.
Losing in the playoffs to the Saints was the best memory. It made it that much sweeter going back and beating them to make the Super Bowl with the Rams 9 years later, which was the last football game I’ll ever win. I know this is a Vikings interview but I’m sticking with that answer.
Tell us how you got involved with Steve’s Outdoor Adventures?
I got involved with Steve’s Outdoor Adventures as a fan of the show. When I hurt my back with the Vikings in 2015 it was devastating. I don’t want to go back through the exact details of everything that happened, but I missed time in training camp that year because my wife gave birth to our first son, Harry.
At 6 months I was finally recovered enough from my multiple surgeries to help a little bit with the baby and my wife and I decided to divide and conquer when it came to night times and early mornings.
She was on duty from midnight to 5 am and at 5 am sharp I was up to take the baby and would let her sleep as long as she needed. One of the things Harry and I would do together was watch Steve’s Outdoor Adventures, which was my favorite hunting show and would record on our DVR.
Fast forward a year to 2016, I’ve been released by the Vikings and signed by Washington and wasn’t sure I would be resigned anywhere following the 2016 season.
As a hedge against being depressed by my NFL career potentially ending I called Steve West, the founder of Steve’s Outdoor Adventures, and booked a spring grizzly bear hunt in Alaska for April of 2017.
I figured if an NFL team didn’t sign me at least I have this hunt to look forward to and then I’ll figure out what I’m going to do next. Long story short I ended up getting signed by the Rams and had 2 awesome years in LA, I missed the hunt in 2017 but was able to do it the following year in 2018.
On that hunt I was basically snowed into a tent with my guide for 10 days straight, didn’t see any bears, and when I came off the Alaskan tundra I was hooked.
I immediately rebooked for 2019 and when I went again the following year Steve and his camera crew joined me.
We had an epic 10 day adventure that included seeing a wolverine up close, wolves and quite a few grizzly bears. We never connected which is why it wasn’t turned into an episode but after that trip Steve could tell I was passionate about the outdoors and wanted to be involved with the business.
Also spending 10 days in a spike camp in Alaska is a pretty good way to tell if you can get along with someone, it was a pretty unique interview process for both sides. Steve has been running the company for nearly 25 years and had been looking for the right person to come in and not only be a partner in the company but eventually succeed him someday in running the company.
He asked if I was interested, which of course I was, and fortunately, we were able to find an arrangement that worked for both parties and I became his partner in Steve’s Outdoor Adventures.
What sort of adventures do you offer?
Steve’s Outdoor Adventures specializes in North American guided big game hunting and fishing adventures. We consult with our clients to help them book the big game hunting or fishing adventure that suits their needs, their physical abilities, and best helps them achieve their goals and dreams.
This means we match our hunters and fishermen with trips that are in areas that are rich in the game they intend to target, are appropriate physically based on the hunter’s capabilities and skill level and are run by honest, ethical and skilled operators.
Steve, myself, or our third adventure consultant, an awesome guy named Travis Price, have been on every single trip that we offer to our clients. We do broker internationally as well in Argentina and New Zealand.
Our goal is to be a resource for everyone and to encourage men and women around the world to take part in nature and enjoy the outdoors.
Tell us about current/future TV shows?
Click Here for more info on their upcoming shows!
Through the end of the year we have some new episodes filmed in California for Tule Elk and Blacktail deer. And the upcoming 2021 season will feature some pretty awesome hunts that we have both filmed, and are about to film. I was in New Mexico and Utah on pronghorn antelope and mule deer hunts that will be episodes seen in 1Q-2Q 2021.
And Steve and Travis filmed elk, deer, and antelope episodes in Colorado and Montana, as well as a special wounded vets hunt in Oregon that has a tremendous story line we hope inspires a lot of viewers and brings awareness to suicide.
We even plan to share some awesome Alaskan fishing footage from this past summer. And because Covid-19 shut down our spring seasons in 2020, we didn’t get to film our usual spring bear hunts.
This means we are doubling down in 2021 and have some awesome bear footage to share in 3Q-4Q 2021. All in all we have some big plans for new and exciting episodes in 2021.
Who would you say is the target customer for SOA?
The target customer for SOA is anyone who wants to get outdoors and have an adventure centered around hunting and fishing. There are certain prerequisites to getting out in the field like hunter certification and different licenses and permits but ultimately we aren’t just looking for experienced hunters, we want to help people have the confidence to get out and hunt for the first time, regardless of their age.
I grew up in Connecticut and didn’t grow up in a hunting family, so I had to learn as an adult. Like anything it can be uncomfortable not knowing how to do something and having to rely on someone else and to ask questions but being a client of Steve’s before I became his partner, I can confidently say there was no judgement on his part and he couldn’t have been a better resource for me to gain the confidence to get out and do something that I was incredibly interested in and have since developed and intense passion for… Travis and I now help Steve bring that same level of service to our customers.
We welcome everyone that is interested in booking a hunting or fishing trip to call us and discuss their options.
What’s your favorite story from your time at SOA ?
It’s tough to pick out a single story honestly. I’d say the thing I love the most is either being in the field with clients and seeing them harvest an animal or land a huge fish and the excitement that comes with that experience or getting a text message when you consult with a hunter and they finally get cell service back after being in the field and they send a picture of an ancient Ram, or mature bull elk, or massive bear that they just harvested.
I know it can be difficult for some people to reconcile the act of hunting and killing an animal with the love that hunters have for those same animals but there is something in our DNA as humans that drives us to hunt.
We’re built to hunt from an evolutionary standpoint and for the vast majority ofhuman history our species was reliant on hunting in order to survive.
Also, at SOA we’re huge believers in the hunting is conservation model and believe it has been proven over time as the best way to ensure the conservation of habitat and healthy balance of animal populations will remain forever.
You guys running any specials?
Because we are booking hunting and fishing trips that are actually scheduled with our partners, we don’t have the ability to offer and discounted trips or specials, but everyone can go on our website and sign up for the hunt cancellations list and get notifications when there are deals as hunt plans change and packages potentially become available last minute.
This is a great way to get a massive discount. Additionally, we would love to have everyone download the new Farwide App that we are partners in – it’s a tremendous resource for outdoorsmen across the country and it’s 100% free.