Pat Elflein – OL
There are few Vikings players who are heading into the new season with more pressure on their shoulders than Pat Elflein.
The offensive lineman is now officially in the last chance saloon with the organization. And another poor showing in 2020 would leave the decision-makers with no alternative other than to move on from him.
It might seem something of a surprise to see Elflein still on the roster following a dismal 2019. He gave up six sacks while getting flagged for eight penalties during 919 snaps on his way to a modest 64.7 grade from Pro Football Focus. The interior protector must completely turn around his fortunes this season.
The former third-round pick came into the NFL with a high ceiling. But to say he hasn’t lived up to his promise so far would be something of an understatement. Although Elflein’s long-term aspirations with Minnesota might appear bleak, he has been given another chance to reignite his career, however unlikely that may be.
Not having any preseason games this year should work in his favor. It is probably going to prevent those looking to take his starting spot from seeing any meaningful time on the field before the regular season. And Elflein’s previous relationship with the unit and quarterback Kirk Cousins should be enough for him to be in the lineup for the Vikings in Week 1.
Whether he can hold onto his job is another matter entirely. Second chances at the position tend to be few and far between in the NFL. And this is an opportunity that Elflein cannot let pass him by.