Pat Elflein/Dakota Dozier – OL
If there was a weak spot on the Vikings during last Sunday’s pounding of the Falcons, it was the left side of the team’s’ offensive line.
Minnesota quarterback Kirk Cousins only dropped back 10 times to pass, and on a few of those, he took some hard hits. Those pressures primarily came from the left side of the line where Riley Reiff and Pat Elflein line up. So the microscope will be on these two this week, with Elflein getting the most intense look.
Elflein had his hands full with Grady Jarrett last week. Jarrett is a load to try and block, as he is massive and also very quick. He blew past Elflein a couple of times, but he also overpowered the Vikings blocker on a few others. At times Elflein was just outmatched.
Things won’t be any easier for Minnesota’s starting left guard in Week 2. The Packers have some nice players in their front seven. They did let Mike Daniels go, but they still have Kenny Clark and they added pass rushers Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith this past offseason.
Green Bay will line those guys up all over the place and occasionally Elflein could find himself trying to block one of them.
Elflein status for Sunday is currently up in the air due to a knee issue and the Vikings did have Dakota Dozier take reps with the first team this week.
It’s safe to assume Elflein will have a short leash on Sunday if he suits up. If he struggles or appears that he isn’t at 100 percent, he could get pulled sooner than later and Dozier would get his chance.
If Dozier gets in against the Packers and ends up playing well, Minnesota may allow him to keep that job permanently this season.