Minnesota Vikings starting center John Sullivan was absent from the team’s afternoon practice on Monday to go be with his wife, who is due to have their first baby soon. The coaching staff chose to replace him with Zac Kerin, which is a big jump for the young player.
After going undrafted in 2014, Kerin signed with the Vikings and was eventually placed on their practice squad. He thinks that year really helped him because it allowed him to go against the starters in practice, be with them every day and just see how they go about their business.
That year also allowed him to learn the playbook and feel more comfortable in offensive coordinator Norv Turner’s offense. And that is what has helped him the most.
“Where to begin? I had a lot of improvements to make when I first got here,” Kerin said with a laugh. “So far I think just an extra year of just grasping the offense, the calls, playing faster is definitely noticeable for me this year.”
Another big help for him was the presence of Sullivan. Even to this day, if Kerin ever has a question he knows he can go to the veteran center and Sullivan will help out any way he can.
“Sully has been a big help to me,” he said. “Whenever I have a question he does a pretty good job of answering it for me.”
Having the opportunity to play with the first team was a little bit of a surprise for Kerin, especially since he didn’t even know that Sullivan had left. The starting center was there for the morning walk-through but left sometime during the break between practices.
As the starting center, Kerin was forced to go up against Linval Joseph and Sharrif Floyd. Not only are these guys bigger than a lot of players he has had to go up against in the past, but more talented as well, and he is hoping the experience of facing them will only help his game improve.
“They are some big boys there,” he said. “They are pretty good so it’s a good challenge but that’s how you get good. You play the best to become the best and it’s the shot that gets me working with those guys.”
Even though he is thankful for his time on the practice squad and feels like he learned a lot during that time, Kerin does not want to end up there again. He is looking to be named to the 53-man roster by the start of the regular season and hopefully see some playing time.
“Yeah, that’s the ultimate goal,” he said when asked if he wants to make the 53-man roster. “Practice squad was great, great coaching last year, but obviously it doesn’t stop there. You want to make the 53-man roster. That’s what drove me during the offseason and that’s why I come out here and try to get better each day.”
Kerin gets shot with first-team offense
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