John Sullivan missed almost all of training camp because of a calf injury and did not play in a preseason game. However, it appears he's getting healthy at the right time.
The Vikings listed the center as probable on their final injury report of the week, meaning he almost certainly will start Thursday night's regular-season opener at New Orleans. The probable listing means it's a "virtual certainty" the person in question will play.
That's good news for a team that can use Sullivan's one season of starting experience to help pick up the many blitzes they are sure to see from Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. If Sullivan couldn't go the options were Jon Cooper, who has never started an NFL game, or Anthony Herrera, who is the starting right guard.
Coach Brad Childress said Tuesday the Vikings were toying with the idea of having cornerback Cedric Griffin active for this game and he is listed as questionable (50 percent chance of playing). Griffin missed all of training camp as he continued to recover from surgery on the left anterior cruciate ligament that he tore in last season's NFC title game at the Superdome.
If the Vikings do play Griffin, there could be a chance they try to get him into a package that would feature six defensive backs on the field against the Saints multi-receiver sets. I still don't see Griffin playing, but the 50-50 listing means there is a chance.
Rookie running back Toby Gerhart (knee) also is questionable for Thursday night. He injured his knee in the Vikings' third preseason game against Seattle. Quarterback Brett Favre, who was listed on the injury report after having offseason ankle surgery but did not miss practice time this week, and safety Jamarca Sanford (ankle) are listed as probable.
It's no surprise that cornerback Chris Cook (knee) and defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy (knee) have been declared out for the season opener.
We touched on the Saints' defensive concerns in an earlier blog. It appears cornerback Tracy Porter (knee) will be good to go, as will defensive tackle Anthony Hargrove (knee). Both are probable for Thursday.
Also probable for New Orleans: Linebacker Jonathan Vilma (groin), safety Pierson Prioleau (knee), tight end Jimmy Graham (ankle) and wide receiver Marques Colston (kidney). Running back Chris Ivory (knee) and linebacker Stanley Arnoux (ankle) are out. Tackle Zach Strief (knee) is questionable.