It has now been 20 days since center John Sullivan last practiced due to “back spasms,” but even with the season opener now just a week away, coach Mike Zimmer says he still isn’t concerned by Sullivan’s absence.
“Not really,” Zimmer said today. “He’s getting better every day, so we expect we might get him out here a little tomorrow. We’ll see.”
While Zimmer said he doesn’t know if Sullivan will be able to play against the 49ers in Week 1, he’s “encouraged” by where Sullivan is in his recovery.
Zimmer also said he is comfortable with Joe Berger at center. Berger was again snapping the ball for the first-team offense earlier today.
“He’s doing good,” Zimmer said. “These guys all get paid a lot of money to do this, so we expect all these guys when they get in there to go.”
Regardless of who is in there on the Vikings offensive line, the biggest question mark entering the season, Zimmer expects them to play well.
“It happens every year in this league,” Zimmer said. “Guys step up and do good. So that’s what our expectation is.”
Here are some other tidbits from Zimmer’s afternoon press conference:
— Zimmer didn’t declare a starter at middle linebacker, but Gerald Hodges was back with the first team when they were in their base defense. “He continues to do a good job,” Zimmer said. “I think he’s getting more comfortable in there than he was before as far as alignments and things like that. But he’s got some physicality to him. He can run. He’s instinctive. So we’ll just see where that goes.” For what it’s worth, Hodges expressed confidence after the preseason finale that he would start for the Vikings.
— Fullback Zach Line missed practice today, with practice-squad player Blake Renaud getting reps in his place. Zimmer said he anticipates Line to play against the 49ers. He then said, “When does the injury report come out? We’ll talk about it then.” The first injury report is due Thursday.
— Zimmer explained what he likes about former Concordia defensive end Zach Moore, who has joined the practice squad. “He’s a big guy that ended up playing some games [for the Patriots] last year,” he said. “We’re always looking for big guys. Today’s the first day we got a chance to look at him, but I think he’s got some positional flexibility that we can use with him.”