Pat Elflein – LG
Pat Elflein has done nothing in recent seasons to keep his starting left guard job. Despite his below-average play during the last two years, he is still penciled in to be a starter again in 2020. But this is primarily because the Vikings did nothing to upgrade his position in the offseason.
Minnesota failed to go out and sign a quality starting guard and there were players available like Mike Iupati, Michael Schofield, and D.J. Fluker who, while not great, were better than the Elflein we’ve seen recently.
The Vikings also failed to use an early-round draft pick on a replacement for Elflein and didn’t even take a guard until their very last selection of this year’s NFL Draft.
Minnesota is going to live and die with Elflein on the left side in 2020. While he has been a decent run blocker, it’s in pass protection where his play has fallen off. He either gets beat or he grabs his man, causing a drive-killing holding penalty.
Maybe Elflein will return to being the player we saw during his rookie season, and if so, this gamble will pay off for the Vikings.
However, the chances are much higher that the Elflein we’ve seen the last season and a half will be the one we see in 2020 and that is not good news for Kirk Cousins and Minnesota’s offense.