Zimmer expects Sullivan, Ducasse back

Mike Zimmer believes both John Sullivan and Vladimir Ducasse should be able to play Sunday after leaving the loss against Buffalo with injuries.

Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer was optimistic on Wednesday that two of his starting offensive linemen would be ready to go Sunday after getting knocked out of the last Sunday’s game due to injuries.

John Sullivan suffered a concussion in the first quarter Sunday against the Buffalo Bills and Vladimir Ducasse suffered a knee injury on the same play, the 13th snap for the Vikings offense.

“I think they should both be fine,” Zimmer said.

“(Sullivan) has passed his first protocol test or whatever, so I would assume that he would be fine.”

The NFL has a series of tests in place for players who suffered a concussion, so passing the first test doesn’t necessarily mean Sullivan will pass the upcoming tests in short order, but it is at least a positive sign for him.

Sullivan wasn’t practicing on Wednesday, but Ducasse was in uniform, although he wasn’t taking first-team reps at right guard at the start of practice. Mike Harris, who played guard for the first time in his professional career after Ducasse was injured, was taking first-team reps there on Wednesday while Joe Berger remained in place of Sullivan.

Sullivan was in the Vikings locker room on Monday, but players who suffer concussions aren’t allowed to speak with the media until they have passed the tests.

Up until Sunday’s game, Sullivan hadn’t missed an offensive snap for the Vikings this year. Even after missing 51 snaps on Sunday, he has played in 89 percent of the snaps this season.

Ducasse was thrust into starting role when Brandon Fusco suffered a torn pectoral muscle in the second half of a Week 3 loss to the New Orleans Saints. Fusco is on season-ending injured reserve after having surgery a few weeks ago.

All of the moving parts haven’t been helpful in the Vikings solving their pass protection issues.

“I think it’s a combination of all the things, honestly,” Zimmer said. “Sometimes it’s because of moving parts. Sometimes it’s because guys are covered, holding onto the ball too long, in a check-down the back stayed in because he was trying to help in protection or the primary target didn’t get open so you’ve got to move to the second or third option. I don’t want those to sound like excuses because we’ve got to do better.”

Vikings quarterbacks have been sacked 27 times, second-most in the league this year.


  • Zimmer had a procedure Tuesday to remove kidney stones that caused him to miss last Friday’s practice. Zimmer said he is feeling better.

    “Yesterday was not pleasant at all,” Zimmer said. “(Athletic trainer) Eric Sugarman was talking to the team today and I told him to get the video of the procedure I had done and we would show the team. I think there would have been some throwing up or something.”

  • LB Gerald Hodges (hamstring) and TE Kyle Rudolph (abdomen) joined Sullivan in not practicing Wednesday. They were jogging off to the side during practice.

  • DE Corey Wootton (back), DT Sharrif Floyd (ankle), OL Vladimir Ducasse (knee), CB Jabari Price (hamstring) and S Antone Exum (ankle) were limited.

  • S Harrison Smith (ankle) and TE Chase Ford (foot) were listed on the injury report but practiced fully.

  • For Tampa Bay, LB Jonathan Casillas (hamstring), T Anthony Collins (knee), S Dashon Goldson (ankle), WR Vincent Jackson (rib), QB Josh McCown (right thumb) and S Keith Tandy (hamstring) were limited. C Johnthan Banks (neck) was a full participant.

  • Former Vikings OL Marcus Love was signed to the New Orleans Saints practice squad.

    Mike Zimmer discusses the offense

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