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Vikings release John Sullivan, make moves with four more to reach limit

As the Vikings await word on Teddy Bridgewater’s apparently serious leg injury, the team made five moves to reach the roster limit by Tuesday afternoon’s deadline.

The most prominent of early moves was the release of veteran center John Sullivan, who had started 93 games since the Vikings drafted him in the sixth round in 2008. General Manager Rick Spielman tried to find a suitable trade partner for Sullivan, but clearly the Vikings didn’t get a deal they wanted.

Sullivan’s exit frees more than $5 million as his base salary was not guaranteed for the upcoming season. Joe Berger took his place as the starting center Tuesday before practice was called early due to Bridgewater’s injury.

The Vikings also waived safety Antone Exum Jr. and defensive tackle Scott Crichton with injury designations. Exum Jr. suffered a left knee injury in Sunday’s preseason win against the San Diego Chargers, while Crichton had not practiced in weeks due to an undisclosed injury. If either player goes unclaimed, they’ll revert to injured reserve.

Receiver Troy Stoudermire was also waived.

Offensive lineman Mike Harris was moved to the reserve non-football illness list, freeing up another roster spot.

The Vikings roster is now down to 75 players, including Bridgewater.

Teddy Bridgewater's serious leg injury ends Vikings practice

The Vikings’ lofty hopes took a serious hit Tuesday when starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater appeared to suffer a major leg injury.

About 25 minutes into practice, in the first team drill of the day, Bridgewater dropped back in the pocket but crumpled to the turf, seemingly without being touched. As he clutched the area around his left knee, linebacker Eric Kendricks and other teammates spiked helmets and shouted expletives. Some Vikings dropped to one knee in disbelief as athletic trainers rushed to the third-year quarterback.

Two minutes later, coach Mike Zimmer ended practice and sent players inside. Running back Adrian Peterson, guard Alex Boone, running back Matt Asiata, defensive end Brian Robison, cornerback Terence Newman and backup quarterback Shaun Hill lingered on the field, surrounding Bridgewater.

Soon, an ambulance pulled up to Winter Park, whisking Bridgewater away.

A team spokesman said that Zimmer will meet with reporters this afternoon.

The Vikings were expecting a breakout season from Bridgewater in 2016 after two solid seasons in the league. His strong play in training camp translated to the preseason, when he completed 18 of his 23 pass attempts for 253 yards and two touchdowns. Bridgewater averaged 11 yards per attempt in his two preseason starts and he complied an impressive 141.5 passer rating.

In Sunday’s 23-10 win over the San Diego Chargers at U.S. Bank Stadium, he showed no signs of the shoulder soreness that sidelined him for the second preseason game on Aug. 18. He threw for 161 yards and a touchdown in the first half in what was supposed to be his final appearance this preseason.

Hill was expected to be Bridgewater’s primary backup heading into the regular season. Undrafted rookie Joel Stave was vying to make the 53-man roster as their third quarterback with second-year signal-caller Taylor Heinicke still on the non-football injury list after undergoing foot surgery in July. The Vikings officially waived quarterback Brad Sorensen this morning.

The Vikings expressed interest in free-agent quarterback Nick Foles a month ago as additional insurance for Bridgewater, but he signed with Kansas City.

The Vikings, whom Bridgewater guided to an 11-5 record and the NFC North title in 2015, open the regular season at the Tennessee Titans on Sept. 11.

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