EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — John Sullivan said there were no lingering effects, or animosity, after he suffered a bruised knee on a low hit by Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh in the Minnesota Vikings’ 34-24 loss on Sunday.
Sullivan said Suh approached him during the game Sunday after the defensive tackle, known for his questionable hits, dove into the back of Sullivan’s leg on an interception return. Sullivan returned and played all 55 offensive snaps in Sunday’s loss.
The injury, diagnosed as a left knee contusion, according to coach Leslie Frazier, was to the same knee Sullivan underwent microfracture surgery on in the offseason. But Sullivan said he would be ready when Minnesota returns to practice Wednesday.
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“Yeah, I mean I played the rest of the game yesterday,” Sullivan said. “I feel fine.”
Suh talked to Sullivan after the hit to apologize and reinforce he didn’t mean to injury Sullivan.
“I think guys get caught up in the play sometimes,” Sullivan said. “So, sometimes things happen. It’s hard to even remember what you do when you get caught up in the moment. I appreciate the fact that he came up to me and said something, yeah.”
According to the Associated Press, the league will review the play and Suh could be in line for a possible fine. Suh’s dive at Sullivan’s knee was penalized 15 yards for a low hit and negated a touchdown on the interception. On the ensuing play, the Vikings intercepted Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford.
Suh has been fined by the league four times for unnecessary roughness on hits to opposing quarterbacks. He was also suspended for two games in 2011 for stomping on Green Bay lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith.
Sunday’s hit, was another dangerous maneuver.
“You just hate to see guys get hit below the waist,” coach Leslie Frazier said. “You just know that that can result in serious injury. So, you just hate to see it.”
After watching the replay of the hit, Sullivan was thankful he suffered only a bruise.
“Yeah, I mean it looked like it could have led to a pretty serious injury,” Sullivan said. “So I feel like I’m pretty lucky today to be relative unscathed.”
Sullivan’s availability for Wednesday’s practice will be important after Minnesota’s offensive line struggled against the Lions’ defensive line Sunday. The Vikings offensive line returned all five starters from last season, but had its share of issues in the preseason that carried over to Sunday’s first regular-season game.
After a 78-yard touchdown run by Adrian Peterson, the line struggled to open running lanes for Peterson and quarterback Christian Ponder was sacked three times.
“It was just a breakdown from us up front or along the entire offense,” Sullivan said. “It’s just the way these games go. It’s disappointing for us. But at the same time, we’re not going to hang our heads. We’re going to go back to work this week in practice.”
Sullivan later added: “There are some physical mistakes. There are some mental mistakes. We’ll get them straightened out.”