Vikings Training Camp 2019: Previewing the offensive line
By Chris Schad
Left Guard: Pat Elflein
There remains a lot to be said for sticking a player at his natural position. For most of the 2018 season, the Vikings were attempting to stick square pegs into round holes as Mike Remmers (a natural tackle) struggled at right guard and Tom Compton was thrust into a starting assignment for the entire season when he’s better suited as a depth piece.
A big reason for this was the slow recovery of then-center Pat Elflein. With the Ohio State product recovering from two offseason surgeries, he wasn’t able to even hit the field until Week 3 and even then, he struggled for most of the year as he tried to match up with faster, stronger defensive tackles.
The results were disastrous as Elflein allowed 33 pressures, third-most among centers according to Pro Football Focus. While the performance may not have been his fault as he was working upstream just trying to get on the field, the Vikings made the decision in OTAs to stick Elflein at guard, a position he earned All-American status at during his time with the Buckeyes.
With Garrett Bradbury holding down the center spot and Elflein having a full offseason to devote to getting stronger, it’s possible the third-year lineman could have a big rebound year or be on the roster bubble this time next year.