NFL.com recently projected Pat Elflein to remain a starter for the Minnesota Vikings next season.
Following an impressive rookie season in 2017, it appeared as though Pat Elflein was going to develop into a solid offensive lineman for the Minnesota Vikings at the very least.
But then he struggled during his second year with the Vikings and in 2019 he was moved over to left guard where the struggling got even worse for the young blocker. As a result, his spot on Minnesota’s roster for the upcoming season is far from being a lock.
Despite Elflein’s decrease in productivity during the last two years, the Vikings didn’t do a whole lot this offseason to find anyone to replace him or even add guys to come in and compete with him for his starting job.
Even with 15 selections in this year’s NFL Draft, Minnesota didn’t add a guard until the very last round when they used a pick on Washburn’s Kyle Hinton. The Vikings also added more interior help after the draft from the pool of rookies who weren’t selected, but neither of them is expected to challenge for a starting role in 2020.
So does Minnesota see something different in Elflein than everyone else? After giving up at least five sacks in each of his last two seasons, it’s a bit of a head-scratcher that the Vikings didn’t make an attempt to bring in some legitimate competition for him this year.
Thanks to this decision by Minnesota, NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal recently projected Elflein to remain he team’s starting left guard for the upcoming 2020 season.
Are the Minnesota Vikings stuck with Pat Elflein at left guard again for 2020?
Given the Vikings’ lack of moves to find any other options this offseason, it really shouldn’t be a surprise that Rosenthal has Elflein keeping his job for another year.
Still, this can’t actually be Minnesota’s plan for 2020, right? There’s been talk of Riley Reiff moving over from tackle to guard this year and it’s hard to imagine that being a worse idea than keeping Elflein as a starter for another season.
A lot could also depend on the development of rookie offensive tackle, Ezra Cleveland. If Cleveland is able to pick up the Vikings’ scheme quick enough this year, he could take over as the team’s starting left tackle next season and shift Reiff inside.
While Elflein remaining Minnesota’s starting left guard for 2020 is, unfortunately, a believable outcome, it should also be the team’s worst-case scenario when it comes to figuring out who will make up their starting offensive line for the upcoming season.