The Vikings started right guard Anthony Herrera at center, who alternated series at center with backup Jon Cooper. On the series in which Herrera was at center, rookie Chris DeGeare was at right guard. Why the shuffling? What is being reported as a calf injury for starting center John Sullivan is starting to look more and more like there is something additionally wrong with Sully that isn't being reported.
There has been some speculation that the injury may involve the ankle surgery that Sullivan had in the offseason. If that is the case, it could explain why Sullivan hasn't taken the field in the month of August and is getting closer to moving into September.
While Herrera said he is embracing his role as a part-time center in addition to being a full-time guard, the reality is that, as the Vikings prepare for the start of the regular season in 10 days, the offensive line is splitting itself a little thin – perhaps too thin.
Herrera admitted that it is difficult to split his time doing two different assignments – taking snaps at both guard and center. The responsibilities at those two positions are very different and the result has been that Herrera hasn't been getting full repetitions at either position.
Are the Vikings ready to enter the 2010 season with significant questions on the offensive line? Considering how much of an investment has been made in getting Brett Favre to return, having question marks about those in charge of keeping him safe has to be concerning. Only time will tell if Sullivan's injury can heal sufficiently for him to play (and play effectively) when the Vikings meet the Saints Sept. 9. Pro Bowl guard Steve Hutchinson said that the experience being gained by players like Herrera and DeGeare will be valuable heading forward, but, once the regular season starts, Hutch said the team will want to go with the starting five and stick with them to build cohesiveness. Until that happens, there are legitimate reasons for concerns.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.