5 options who could start at guard for the Vikings in 2020

(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) Dru Samia
(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) Dru Samia /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) Pat Elflein /

Pat Elflein

The most obvious is the candidate is the one who started at left guard last season. Pat Elflein played 15 games for the Vikings last year and the same issues that have plagued him throughout his career continued to show up.

With a lack of strength that has seemingly been missing since his rookie season, Elflein allowed 32 pressures in 2019, 10th among NFL guards. In addition, his six sacks allowed were tied for the third-most in the league. With these factored in, Elflein’s 51.3 pass-blocking grade ranked 98th among guards according to Pro Football Focus.

Even more upsetting about Elflien’s play in 2019 was his performance in Minnesota’s divisional-round playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Going up against DeForest Buckner in the middle of the offensive line, Elflein was crushed, allowing five pressures and a pair of sacks to register a 9.5 pass-blocking grade.

Long story short, Elflein has been a terrible pass-blocker and that’s put his job on the line this offseason. The Vikings have already tried to adapt to Elflein’s strengths with a position change and that yielded almost nothing in return last season. If Minnesota wants to win, they should hope that the fourth-year lineman isn’t part of their guard solution in 2020.