The summer before the 2009 season was a blur for Vikings squat and center, John Sullivan. With talk of Matt Birk leaving and the potential for his first starting job staring at him below the belt buckle, his nerves occasionally got the best of him. He found though once practice started and he was able to see game time action, that he had a distinct advantage over the rest of the NFL competition; they couldn’t see him.
You see, Mr. Sullivan isn’t only a Vikings player, but he’s also the strongest hobbit in the shire.
“I realized that when the Vikings originally drafted me, that they didn’t have extensive game tape of me” he said between attempts to ignore his neighbors, the Proudfeets. “I was absolutely dominating everyone I played against in college, as they saw it. But really, it was because I was going up against community shire kids that were probably three feet tall and could max bench press a quarter cask of home ale when stone sober. Me? I could maybe lift one that was two thirds full. I was pretty strong back then.”
Sullivan had a transition period to the NFL. His first regular start he played against large man Shaun Rodgers of the Cleveland Browns. How did he do? Not so well, as he recalls.
“My first game in the NFL was a disaster,” he said between blowing smoke rings with a bearded friend that Sullivan says used to be one of his uncle’s buddies. “I looked up from hiking the ball the first time and could have sworn to hobbit god that the Balrog was looking at me right in the face. It wasn’t though, it was just a 350 pound man looking to kill me. If I remember right, I then passed out.”
Vikings coaches don’t seem too concerned, though. “Oh, Sullivan? I’ve got no concerns about him” said Darrell Bevell. “Sully just has to get his proportions figured out. He’s a little top heavy, but that’s to be expected when you’re from some mystical land where they worship elves and things. I don’t really get it, but hey, he’s not that stupid as a center, so it may still work out. But have you ever looked at him? His legs end at his knees, I’m pretty sure. It’s weird.”
Sullivan shares that he has been a fixture in the weight room this year in order to get his proportions correct and impress the coaches. “I figured one of the ways I could do that was by drinking a whole lot” Sullivan said, “But so far it’s just continued to make me too top heavy. I can barely fit into the Bag-end door anymore. Instead, I’ve taken to doing squats with the weight of the world on my shoulders, like I was carrying the one thing that could end evil. I mean, that’s a pretty big deal, you know?”
“The answer though is, no, it hasn’t really helped.” Sullivan steps in front of the mirror and let’s out another sigh. “Listen, I’m enjoying myself but even I can’t lie about it. I look like Danny Devito.”