Vikings sign Sullivan to 5-year extension
Even John Sullivan wasn’t sure what his future entailed with the
Minnesota Vikings after a lackluster 2010 season.
The sixth-round draft pick in 2008 muddled through last year,
with two calf injuries and the death of his father throwing his
performance completely out of whack.
He has bounced back in a big way this season, becoming one of
the few bright spots on a 2-11 team, and the Vikings rewarded him
with a five-year contract extension Saturday.
”I can’t thank the Vikings enough for giving me another
chance,” Sullivan said. ”They gave me another chance to go out
there and prove that last year was result of circumstances and to
show what type of player I can be when I’m healthy and not dealing
with some personal things.”
In his fourth season in the league, Sullivan is emerging as one
of the leaders on an offense that is looking for consistency and
reliability. The offensive line has struggled at times this season
to open holes for Adrian Peterson and keep Christian Ponder
protected, but coaches say that Sullivan has quietly had a very
”Game after game he’s played at such a high level, been so
productive for us and really become a leader in a lot of ways at
the center position for the offensive line,” coach Leslie Frazier
said earlier this week. ”He’s kind of taken that mantle we need
him to take on the offensive line.”
Listed generously at 6-foot-4 and 301 pounds, Sullivan was
initially thought to be a little undersized when he took over for
longtime starter Matt Birk in 2009. But he helped the Vikings reach
the NFC title game in his first season as a starter.
”Over the last four years, John has contributed in countless
ways to the Vikings organization,” Vikings owner Zygi Wilf said in
a statement. ”He has been very active in the community along with
being a key member along our offensive line. John is a bright young
man and we are fortunate to have him in the Vikings
Now the Vikings are looking for him to take on even more of a
leadership role going forward as the team tries to turn things
around after this year’s massive struggles on the field.
”That’s a role I need to embrace and help our team with,”
Sullivan said. ”I view my role with trying to help Christian out
as much as possible, make sure he’s comfortable and he can be as
successful as possible.”
Ponder has had his ups and downs, as expected, since taking over
as the starter in Week 7. But Sullivan remains confident that the
two will be exchanging snaps in Minnesota for a long time.
”He’s the total package and he’s the future of this team,”
Sullivan said. ”We’re going to do great things with him at the
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