Vikings rookie getting closer to making his 2020 debut?

(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) Ezra Cleveland
(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) Ezra Cleveland /

When will Ezra Cleveland take the field for the Minnesota Vikings?

It’s no secret that the Minnesota Vikings offensive line has been the Achilles heel of the team for a number of years. No matter how much money or draft capital the Vikings invest in the position group, the performance of their blockers continues to remain a weakness of the team.

This year, Minnesota decided to use a second-round draft pick on former Boise State offensive tackle, Ezra Cleveland. This was a bit of a puzzling decision since the Vikings really needed more help for the interior of their offensive line after the release of right guard Josh Kline and the poor performance of Pat Elflein in 2019.

Then things got even more confusing when Minnesota had Cleveland line up as a guard during this summer’s training camp. Especially since the rookie offensive lineman spent the majority of his college career at Boise State as a tackle.

Could Ezra Cleveland make his debut for the Minnesota Vikings soon?

With the way that the interior of the Vikings offensive line has been performing this season, it might not be long before the team decides to throw Cleveland into the fire and see if he can offer any help.

Right now, Minnesota has Dakota Dozier as their starting left guard and Dru Samia as their starting right guard. Elflein is expected to return soon from a hand injury and he began the season in the team’s starting lineup at right guard.

Dozier has been okay at times, but he hasn’t done anything this year to cement himself as Minnesota’s starting left guard for the remainder of the season. Then there’s Samia, who looked bad in his 2020 debut back in Week 2 and even worse against the Tennessee Titans last week.

Elflein has to sit out at least one more game before the Vikings can remove him from their injured reserve list, so it looks like Samia will remain the team’s starting right guard for at least one more week.

But maybe this is the perfect opportunity to give Cleveland a shot? Some will say that he might not be ready. But how much worse could he be than Samia, who has arguably been the worst guard in the NFL this year?

Minnesota offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak revealed on Thursday Cleveland is currently the next in line if Samia or Dozier go down with an injury. But if either of these two blockers continues to play poorly during the team’s upcoming game against the Houston Texans, the Vikings should consider making a change at the half and giving the rookie his first shot to impress.

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Whether Cleveland gets a chance to play this weekend or not, him already being the next man up for Minnesota seems to be a good indication that his regular-season debut will be happening sooner than later.