NOTE: This is a story from October of 2015 and refers to the 2015 NFL season, not the 2016 NFL season. It's kind of sad that we have to clarify this, since the date is right at the top of the story, but there you go.
Remember when Minnesota Vikings' center John Sullivan had back spasms that would keep him out for the preseason?
And those back spasms turned into a surgery that put him on IR-return and he'd be eligible to come back for Week 9?
It turns out that we're probably going to have to wait longer. A lot longer.
In today's press conference at Winter Park, head coach Mike Zimmer had this to say about Sullivan's situation.
Zimmer said John Sullivan had a "relapse" in the weight room 10 days ago. "We don't know when he'll be back or if he'll be back" this year.— Mark Craig (@markcraignfl) October 26, 2015
From other sources on the Twitter, Sullivan had to have another procedure performed on his back. So, it sounds very likely that the Vikings used their IR-return spot for this season on a player that will not be returning after all.
On the bright side, Sullivan's replacement at center, Joe Berger, has been one of the best parts of the Vikings' offensive line so far this season. He's among the highest graded players at the pivot in the entire league by Pro Football Focus, and is by far the highest-graded member of the team's offensive line thus far.
There's a slight possibility. . .well, slight from my perspective, in any case. . .that Sullivan may have played his last game with the Vikings. He did sign a contract extension to keep him in Minnesota until 2017, but according to Spotrac, if the Vikings were to cut ties with him after this season, they would only take a salary cap hit of $666,667 as opposed to his $5.4 million salary.
But, if John Sullivan does play another game for the Minnesota Vikings, it doesn't look like it's going to happen this season.