The Minnesota Vikings will officially be without their starting center on Monday. The team placed John Sullivan on the injured reserve/designated to return list with a back problem. He had sat out practice since August 18, but this week he had a lumbar microdisectomy.
I have no idea when Sullivan's back will be good to go, but we know it will not be this week. He joins offensive tackle Phil Loadholt on the sidelines for this game, leading to extensive re-shuffling on the Vikings line. Joe Berger will handle center duties, which he has been doing since Sullivan first hurt his back.
The 49ers are expected to use more blitzing under Eric Mangini, and I am fascinated to see how hard they go after Berger. NaVorro Bowman had a couple sacks against the Denver Broncos, and I have a hunch we see him blitzing on Monday. Add in Jaquiski Tartt, and we could see a lot of pressure up the middle this Monday. We saw some blitzing under Vic Fangio, but I imagine it will be nothing compared to what Mangini's aggressive defense brings to the table.