Vikings C John Sullivan underwent surgery, out until at least Week 9

The Minnesota Vikings will be without starting center John Sullivan for at least the first nine weeks of the 2015 NFL season, according to a report.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter broke this news on Thursday morning, just four days before the Vikings take on the San Francisco 49ers on Monday Night Football to open the season. The center needed surgery to repair a herniated disc in his back and was placed on the IR with a designation to return.

The Vikings, already without starting right tackle Phil Loadholt, are now in dire straits as it relates to protecting second-year quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and paving running lanes for All-Pro running back Adrian Peterson.

Losing a center can be devastating for an offense—especially one with a young developing quarterback. Making matters worse, starting left tackle Matt Kalil has been a bitter disappointment to the club since his promising rookie campaign in 2012.

It’s going to be interesting to see how Bridgewater adapts to this latest challenge. He’s going to likely be under fire early and often while opposing defenses tests Minnesota’s battered offensive line. As we’ve seen so often in the past, many a promising quarterback’s career has been derailed—or at least thrown off kilter—for lack of protection.