MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota Vikings will be without starting center John Sullivan for at least the first eight games of the season.

On Thursday, the team announced that Sullivan has been placed on the injured reserve/designated for return list. Sullivan, who has a back injury, underwent a lumbar microdiscectomy Wednesday.

He’ll be eligible to return to practice after six weeks and to games after eight weeks.

Joe Berger is the most likely candidate to replace Sullivan at center when the Vikings open the regular season at San Francisco Monday night.

His injury is a major blow to the team’s offensive line, which was already hurting in depth after Phil Loadholt went down for the season with a torn Achilles tendon.

The Vikings can only place one player per season on the IR/DFR list. He will not count on the Vikings’ 53-man roster. The current roster has 52 players.

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