EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. As recently as last November, John Sullivan was the quiet, overlooked anchor in the middle of the Minnesota Vikings' offensive line.
Longtime standout guard Steve Hutchinson garnered a lot of the attention. Much of the spotlight and pressure went to Charlie Johnson in his first season as the Vikings left tackle. Meanwhile, Sullivan was busy doing his job, putting together perhaps his best season in the NFL and turning into one of the better centers in the league. Performing in anonymity suited Sullivan just fine, almost the way he preferred it.
But the Vikings knew what Sullivan was bringing to their offense, helping to lead one of the top rushing teams in the NFL. In December, near the end of his third year as a starter, Minnesota signed him to a 5-year, 25 million contract extension and more people started to take notice.
As quick as that, Sullivan is now the veteran leader in the middle of the Vikings line. Gone are guards Hutchinson and Anthony Herrer...