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Sullivan still unsure about timeline for return to Vikings

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Injured Vikings center John Sullivan spoke to reporters Thursday for the first time since having a surgical procedure to help him recover from a herniated disc in his back.

Sullivan told reporters he's still about two weeks away from starting a weight-lifting regimen, and isn't sure exactly when he'll be back on the field for the Vikings.

"I'm not certain of that, it's pretty early in the process to speak to that," said Sullivan Thursday. "I think I'm eligible to come off and play Week 9 and that's my hope is to do that."

Sullivan said he first noticed the back issue during the second week of training camp, but thought it was just a sore back. He said the injury progressed from there and several other treatments for it were ineffective.

"It looked like I was getting better, I was running on the treadmill and doing those things, but there were certain symptoms that were progressing and we couldn't allow that to happen," said Sullivan.

Veteran Joe Berger has stepped in to fill Sullivan's spot, but the Vikings offensive line has been battered by injuries. Rookie T.J. Clemmings also stepped in at right tackle in place of veteran Phil Loadholt, who tore an Achilles tendon during preseason.

"Obviously that's not ideal to lose your two most experienced guys like that," Sullivan added. "But I think it just comes with the territory. Especially at center. You feel responsible for the guys around you. And the only thing I can do to do right by them is to follow the course of the plan for treatment for rehab and get back out there as soon as I can."

The Vikings are also waiting to find out more about guard Brandon Fusco, who didn't practice Wednesday because of concerns about a concussion, but who returned in limited fashion Thursday.

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