Vikings’ John Sullivan is the ‘best center’ in the league


Dec 23, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Minnesota Vikings center John Sullivan (65) points at a defender against the Houston Texans during the fourth quarter at Reliant Stadium. The Vikings won 23-6. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings had the ninth-best offensive line in 2012, according to Pro Football Focus, a website that specializes in advanced stats and analysis.

Pro Football Focus gave high marks to Vikings center John Sullivan, who scored very well in a ranking system that breaks down into three categories—pass protection, run and screen blocking, and penalties—which gives an overall score that leads to the rankings.

"It might not be the coolest thing to say, but there’s no denying that over the past two years the best center in the league has been John Sullivan"

Sullivan, 27, agreed to a five-year $25 million extension in December 2011. A very good deal considering the team signed tight end John Carlson to the same five-year $25 million deal last offseason. Carlson has yet to make a significant impact on the team.

The “dud” of the lineup was guard Brandon Fusco, who routinely rotated with guard Geoff Schwartz in games during the season.

"The Vikings made a big mistake in keeping Brandon Fusco in the starting lineup when they had better options on the bench."

The website is a fan of Schwartz and considers him to be a better lineman than Fusco. Schwartz, 26, received high marks despite limited playing time.

Fusco, 24, was considered a prospect who needed significant work when he was drafted out of Slippery Rock in the sixth round of the 2011 NFL Draft. He has made tremendous progress since 2011 and has room to improve next season.