Elflein will retain his spot at left guard… for now
Throughout the offseason, Vikings fans were begging for an upgrade on the interior offensive line. Minnesota drafted Ezra Cleveland in the second round this year, but he projects as more of a tackle for the long-term. And even with 15 selections, the Vikings only drafted one interior lineman this year which came in the seventh-round when they selected Kyle Hinton.
This development combined with Minnesota’s random decision to cut Josh Kline this offseason left both starting guard spots up for grabs heading into training camp. With no chance to see what younger guys can do, there’s a good chance that Pat Elflein will stay in the Vikings starting lineup entering Week 1 against the Green Bay Packers.
Elflein has regressed since a solid rookie season in 2017, but injuries and a change of position have played key roles in holding him back. Last season, Elflein had his worst season as a pro, looking lost in pass protection and ranking ninth among qualifying guards with 32 pressures allowed according to Pro Football Focus.
That regression should have relegated him to the bench, but Minnesota didn’t add a true competitor for his job as Dru Samia hasn’t appeared to take a step forward and the rest of the team’s guards are only backup quality players.
With just 14 practices until Week 1, the Vikings may just throw Elflein in there to let some of the younger guards get acclimated to the NFL. If anything, Elflein will have at least one more opportunity to come of age, but it will likely just hold Minnesota back during the early months of the season.