Sullivan a veteran voice for Bridgewater

John Sullivan said he doesn’t need to assist rookie Teddy Bridgewater very often, but the veteran center is there when needed.

Minnesota Vikings center John Sullivan has been a key component to rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater’s development that can get overlooked. Bridgewater has shown that he has a lot of natural ability and the fact that he is learning to play the position under offensive coordinator Norv Turner has helped. But Sullivan has been there for him as well throughout the process.

Sullivan has started in every game while Bridgewater has been the starting quarterback for the Vikings, although he did miss some of the Buffalo Bills game because of a concussion he suffered during the game. He was able to come back and start the next week, though, and that continuity really helps out when developing a young quarterback.

“I think continuity at any position is important,” Sullivan said. “But especially in positions where you’re communicating and having to identify things on the defense.”

Identifying things that the defense is doing is one of the things that the veteran center has been helping the rookie quarterback with. If Bridgewater doesn’t see something, Sullivan will tell him about it as a way to help him out as much as possible.

“(Sullivan) is a smart guy. He has experience playing in this league, and whenever I don’t see something he always sees it,” Bridgewater said. “So it’s great for a young guy like me to have a veteran like John up front. If I miss a call he’ll tell me, ‘Hey, you want to do something with protection’ or just get us in and out of a play, so just having a guy like John is a huge help.”

Even though Bridgewater will give Sullivan a lot of credit, Sullivan doesn’t think the quarterback needs to. He says that Bridgewater knows how to play the position without his help and already knew a lot when he first got with the team. There isn’t a whole lot that the veteran center has had to help the rookie quarterback with, but Sullivan still has tried to be there for the rookie whenever he had any questions.

Sullivan just wants to make sure the two are always on the same page and seeing things the same way.

“(Bridgewater) knows how to play the position,” Sullivan said. “I still try to act as a resource for him. So we watch tape during our group meetings throughout the day, then go out and get looks in practice and that’s where most of our communication takes place. Either there or in the locker room post-practice making sure we’re on the same page and seeing things the same way.”

In the end it is all about making sure the offense is running as smoothly as possible, and if the center and quarterback are on the same page about what to do once they get up to the line of scrimmage it makes things a lot easier. Sullivan knows this, and that is one of the reasons why he has been there to help Bridgewater whenever he has needed it.

He said that Bridgewater hasn’t come up to him a lot to ask him questions, but he has been there when the rookie has needed him. Anything Sullivan thinks needs attention will get addressed by the center, but that doesn’t happen often.

“I wouldn’t say very often, but anytime there is an issue or something that I can help him out with,” Sullivan said when asked if Bridgewater asks him questions very often. “The other thing is that if I see something I’ll go to him as well. I just want to make sure that the offense is functioning as well as it can. A lot of the times, especially with protections – because I don’t have to focus on route concepts much – I know what information is pertinent and what can help him out.”


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