Who’s The Man In The Middle For Thursday?

Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 7, 2010 – 2:39 pm

Starting C John Sullivan was sidelined for much of training camp and the preseason with a calf injury, leaving his status for Week 1 in question and prompting the Vikings to take a look at alternatives at the position. That’s the not-so-great news.

But the better news is that Sullivan has returned to practice over the last couple of days; he was listed as a limited participant for both Monday’s and Tuesday’s practices. Making the news even a little better is what both Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell had to say about their starting C this week.

“He seems like he hasn’t missed a beat,” Childress said while meeting with reporters after Tuesday’s practice. “I think that probably he’s going through some of the soreness that you get, maybe not to the same extent as camp, just when you come out here and practice and get pushed around and your muscles talk to you a little bit. I think he’s going through some of that. He’s just working hard to get some of that stamina back.”

Bevell also acknowledged this week that Sullivan seems to be improving, but he also noted that looking good on the practice field and then performing in a regular season game are different monsters.

“He’s looked good,” Bevell said on Monday. “His conditioning has looked good. He’s done things on the side, whether it’s in the pool, whether it’s with [athletic trainer] Eric Sugarman, to keep his conditioning up. But it’s a matter of loading it up and making sure that it will hold up under 65 or 70 plays a game, all the way up to 90 plays.”

The Vikings have done a nice job developing alternatives at the position should Sullivan be unavailable on Thursday night or at another point in the season. Starting RG Anthony Herrera has taken both practice reps and preseason game reps at C, and regular backup Jon Cooper has also taken turns with the 1st-team offense.

“We like what we saw from Anthony,” Bevell said. “We like what we’ve seen from Cooper. It gives us the flexibility to say who we would put in there. We’re not going to put that out there. Both guys have done a nice job. I think both guys are capable of it, and we want to make sure that when we put those guys out there that we’re going to have the five best guys that are going to help us win.”

The line is at its best with Sullivan at C, but the possibility exists that he won’t be able to go on Thursday night in New Orleans. If that’s the case, either Cooper or Herrera will fill in. My sense is that Cooper would get the call at this point, which is the simplest change for the Vikings to make.

But Childress and Bevell could also decide to put Herrera in at C, which would keep Cooper as the 1st reserve and would then slide rookie Chris DeGeare in at RG. Herrera has performed well while playing C this preseason, but the issue with this alignment is it takes away from the team’s depth at G because the 1st reserve at the position – DeGeare – would be forced into the starting lineup with Herrera moving over from RG.

Any way it shakes out, the Vikings offensive line will be prepared for Thursday night’s game.

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Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 39 Comments »

39 Responses to “Who’s The Man In The Middle For Thursday?”

  1. By Pat the Viking on Sep 7, 2010 | Reply

    we don’t want to play Sullivan until he’s 100%

  2. By Cor-XLVikings ! on Sep 7, 2010 | Reply

    Judd Zulgad of the star-tribune picks the saints to win… the st.paul press !

  3. By PurplePeopleEater on Sep 7, 2010 | Reply

    Keep Hererra where he is. 1 roster move is better than 2. I really don’t think that DeGeare is so awesome that we’d be better having a backup at guard with a *sub*-backup at center. If the issue is with leadership, tell Hutch to take over from his LG spot. He has the skill and experience, he just needs to yell audibles a little louder than a guy at center would.

  4. By WTF on Sep 7, 2010 | Reply

    Forecast for Thursday: Sunny with a few clouds and a mild Brees appearing as the game begins. But expect it to die in the first quarter as the Vikings Storm on Past the Saints!

  5. By kw on Sep 7, 2010 | Reply

    ya and zugland was also the guy who said fare retired. i quit reading his garbage

  6. By kw on Sep 7, 2010 | Reply

    favre* retired, so you i could care less what he predicts or reports

  7. By kevinwi on Sep 7, 2010 | Reply

    Sully will be just fine in the game. Our O line will play well. Judd is a packer fan…always will be since he came over. I read his stuff so I can read the fan rants and he also reports what happened in practice day to day. Wish pioneer press would give daily reports. …..only reason I read him. Stopped thinking he knew his stuff after the Favre retirement debacle he created.
    Tom Pelissaro from 1500 has been pretty good with his daily reports. More or less just tells it like it is, without the personal Viking dislike added in.

  8. By Pat the Viking on Sep 7, 2010 | Reply

    Judd Zulgad of the star-tribune – band wagon jumper – trying to make people he know something about football – he wouldn’t know the different between OL and DL

  9. By kw on Sep 7, 2010 | Reply

    zulgad* not zugland i meant, lol

  10. By Skol_Vikings on Sep 7, 2010 | Reply

    Zugland should work for ESPN, he’d fit in great.

  11. By Skol_Vikings on Sep 7, 2010 | Reply

    Zulgad** Bah, I made the same mistkae

  12. By kw on Sep 7, 2010 | Reply

    like cris carter, he NEVER shows any biasisms towards the vikings, lol haha

  13. By purplehorn on Sep 7, 2010 | Reply

    My take on Zulgad is he is looking honestly at the Vikings cornerback situation against a prolific Saints passing attack. The first step to victory is to never underestimate your competition. The Saints are the defending Super Bowl Champions. Do I think we can overcome the Saints home field advantage and passing advantage? I never count the Vikings out……ever. I think it is going to be a great game- but the ball is elipitical. Last year it didn’t bounce our way. Execute the game plan with our defense playing big and the Vikings can win. I’m expecting a record setting market share viewing this game and I expect the Vikings will come out on top. Positive thinkers are winners- those who think it’s over have already sealed the deal. Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez Vikings. Have fun and play your game guys! Let the good times roll down in Nawlins!

  14. By Brendon on Sep 7, 2010 | Reply

    This will be a true test of Favre’s mental state and physical ability. I feel the officiators are going to be more aware on both sides of the ball. I also think the Vikes O-line is determined do what it takes to provide the best possible protection. In addition, the Defense is as strong as ever. I really feel like it will be a close game but I think there’s more heart on the Viking side of the ball. Looking forward to Thurs!

  15. By MGR4FUN on Sep 7, 2010 | Reply

    judd z is a pencil-necked-geek … obviously never played any football … who deemed him to know jack about jack … chip needs to cut ties with the troll of the startrib … dont let him take you down with him chip … as for paul bermeister of the nfl network i just watched the interview with chad greenway … chad was very minnesota nice and didnt tell him what he was thinkin … why would you ask a linebacker about the quarterback … and why would you not hav a question about EJ and his return to the middle backer spot after such a rad rehab … was a terrible interview not your fault chad

  16. By Rogerthevikefan on Sep 7, 2010 | Reply

    Will we look into Justin Hartwig if Sully can’t get healthy and the others aren’t ready. He has been around 9 years or so he knows how to read dlines better than a unhealthy second year starter or a converted guard.

  17. By Vy-King on Sep 7, 2010 | Reply

    Its going to be a close game and our defense is strong but our back four is a major concern. With that being said I see it N.O. 21 Min. 17……Its early and we’ll bounce back and see them again in the playoffs. I’m concerned about the Divison more than the Saints! I want the Packers!!!

  18. By Woodboat on Sep 8, 2010 | Reply

    If we can’t beat the Saints thursday, we had better do a lot of healing and a lot of preparing before we get to the Packers. Right now, considering injuries, I think the Packers may be the favorite coming outta the NFC, much as it pains me to say it. OLine – KEEP BRETT CLEAN. Berrian – CATCH THE BALL. DBs – DO YOUR JOB… actually, that last goes for the whole team.

  19. By celticvikingwarrior on Sep 8, 2010 | Reply

    RogertheVikingfan; NO we will most definately will NOT take a look at Justin Hartwig, that simply makes far to much sense. Why would we possibly want 9 year starter for one of the best run offenses in the NFL year in and year out !!!!!!Afterall we already have a very good center on the team, that was drafted as a center after being a very good center in college who was immediately shifted to back up tackle/guard because he was to tall to play center in the NFL (Ryan Cook) I mean Sullivan’s “hurting” and not in game shape right, so it makes much more sense to have a SMALL backup (Jon Cooper) to take on those 330-350 lb D.T.’s Or a guard who’s not very good at his regular position. Kinda like starting the season against one of the best passing attack’s in the league with 3 healthy corner’s, shear GENIOUS that Childress !!!!!!!

  20. By soldier1986 on Sep 8, 2010 | Reply

    hey guys. what do you call a game in new orleans at the super dome? a full set of teeth. hahahahaha

  21. By soldier1986 on Sep 8, 2010 | Reply

    I just read an article saying that randy moss is not happy in new england and feels unwanted. that would be cool if he came back to minnesota. he said years ago that he always wanted to play with brett favre. now’s his chance. lol i know it won’t happen. but could you imagine!?

  22. By EricDuluth on Sep 8, 2010 | Reply

    Everyone out there knows last years game was a fluke,we are going to demolish the AINTS on there home turf even if we have to use rookie Toby G. as our center we will be just fine,have faith in our team and believe it can happen GO VIKE’S

  23. By Brendon on Sep 8, 2010 | Reply

    To Everyone, if youre comment suggested we will loose and it won’t matter you are sadly mistaken… I believe this game sets the Vike’s pace for the entire season.

  24. By EricDuluth on Sep 8, 2010 | Reply

    thanks Brendon not everyone believes like we do hoo rah we got this hands down once again for you non believers GO VIKES!!!!!!

  25. By Vy-King on Sep 8, 2010 | Reply

    Hey, I respect the Saints, a win in the NFL is never a fluke. Adrian the Fumbelitus Peterson let them force him to drop the ball. I call it like I see it. At least we lost to the champs and not the Cowboys! I got the Packers on my mind. You fools are worried about a pride game. Last year is over were being picked to come in 2nd and 3rd in our division. The Saints are the Champs from last year I want one this year and that starts with wining the NFC North! Tell Chilli to coach a decent game. Keep Berriman away from punt returns.

  26. By soldier1986 on Sep 8, 2010 | Reply

    @vy-king I totally agree with you man. and your right, the packers look really god this year. im actually kind of worried. more worried about them then the saints

  27. By EricDuluth on Sep 8, 2010 | Reply

    we shall c tommarow cuz agan we got this hands down!!!!!

  28. By EricDuluth on Sep 8, 2010 | Reply

    dude you are a Vikings fan right? so why worry about the pack?the pack aint got s**t on us we got the division and the NFC championship and the SUPER BOWL!!!!! If you are a real fan why doubt us?That is straight BS!!!!

  29. By EricDuluth on Sep 8, 2010 | Reply

    nothing personal by the way just football man,i love my vikes and will dide with them till i die!!!!!

  30. By EricDuluth on Sep 8, 2010 | Reply

    sorrry Ride

  31. By EricDuluth on Sep 8, 2010 | Reply

    No real fans out there come on its almost here fellas lets get er done and whoop them AINTS

  32. By soldier1986 on Sep 8, 2010 | Reply

    @ericduluth yes im a vikings fan. i don’t doubt our vikings man. im just saying i would be more worried about playin the pack and the saints. winning our division is more important then week 1 agaisnt the saints. and we can’t deny that the pack is a good team. thats all i meant man. GO VIKINGS

  33. By soldier1986 on Sep 8, 2010 | Reply

    i meant than the saints. lol

  34. By TWVIKE on Sep 8, 2010 | Reply

    Favre has average game. AP has MONSTER GAME. VIKES WIN!

  35. By rodney on Sep 9, 2010 | Reply

    A good place for the saints would be the TOILET BOWL..I just flushed drew breezy

  36. By burythebook on Sep 9, 2010 | Reply

    check out – – for tonight’s free NFL winner

  37. By EricDuluth on Sep 9, 2010 | Reply

    IT IS ON!!! fellas crunch time approaches are we ready for some Minnesota football? Lets do this all we need is for our line to be solid and AP to run his ass off plus Brett to have a 300 yard game with no INT’S We will triumph in the Supposed Super Dome LOL

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