John Sullivan placed on IR-to-return after back surgery


The John Sullivan situation has taken a turn for the worse and now the Vikings will be without their starting center and O-line anchor for at least half the 2015 season.

According to the Star-Tribune, Sullivan has been placed on IR/designated to return after undergoing a back procedure called lumbar microdisectomy.

The IR/designated to return designation means Sullivan may return to practice after six weeks and the team after eight weeks.

Whether Sullivan will actually be ready to come back after that period of time is another question. The Vikings are certainly hoping he can make it back some time this season.

Sullivan played the first two games of preseason before being shelved with what at the time was described as back spasms. The center hasn’t practiced or played since then.

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Head coach Mike Zimmer expressed hope early this week that Sullivan would be able to practice and play in Monday night’s game with the 49ers but he may have been saying that stuff just to throw off the media.

With Sullivan out, Joe Berger steps in as the starting center. The Vikings are also carrying UDFA Zac Kerin for extra depth at the position.

Sullivan becomes the second would-be 2015 starter to go down with injury. The Vikings also lost Phil Loadholt for the season after an Achilles tear in preseason.

The Vikings will now be starting a rookie at right tackle, an unproven journeyman at right guard and a proven journeyman at center.

The left side of their line now becomes their strength, assuming Matt Kalil can improve and Brandon Fusco can grow into his new role as the left guard.

And there are people out there who think the offensive line isn’t that big a problem? Keep swilling that crazy juice.

Next: Vikings v. 49ers: Five players to watch

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