Center John Sullivan may not be completely recovered from a calf injury that kept him from playing in any of the preseason games, but he'll have to be on top of his game facing rookie defensive tackle Ndamakong Suh, the second overall pick of April's draft for the Detroit Lions.
"He's a strong guy. There's no two ways about it. He penetrates and he's relentless trying to get to the quarterback," said Sullivan, who is relying on game film for that assessment since he has never played against Suh before. "You're always asking around about the guys you go against.
"You can ask guys about their personal battles that they've had with certain people, but we have all the game tapes so we've seen him all throughout the preseason and these first two weeks of the regular season. … We know our job here is to block the guys put in front of us. We know he's talented, but we play a lot of talented guys."
Suh already has nine tackles and two sacks, the first Lions rookie to record sacks in each of his first two games since the statistic became official in 1983.
Left tackle Bryant McKinnie might have an even more difficult task. He will be charged with slowing down defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch, a free-agent acquisition for the Lions this offseason.
"He seems like he's the leader of the defensive line and plays with a high energy," McKinnie said. "He has a good motor, so he's going to keep going."
Vanden Bosch leads the Lions with 17 tackles and has 1½ sacks. During his previous five seasons with the Tennessee Titans, he had 38½ sacks and led the defensive linemen in three of those seasons.
McKinnie, who played his college ball at Miami, said he faced Vanden Bosch, a Nebraska alumnus, once in college. McKinnie didn't allow a sack during his high school or college years.
When informed he must have had a good game against Vanden Bosch in college, McKinnie just smiled and just said, "Yep … sooo, I need to have another one."
Sullivan sees both Vanden Bosch and Suh presenting a challenge for the Vikings.
"They've got a lot of guys on their defense that can get after it. They play very hard," Sullivan said. "Obviously Vanden Bosch has incredible tempo, incredible motor on film, and Suh is everything he's cracked up to be."
Tim Yotter is the publisher of 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.