Former Minnesota Vikings guard Pat Elflein lands in the AFC East
By Adam Patrick
The former Minnesota Vikings offensive lineman has a new home.
Since the Minnesota Vikings drafted him with a third-round pick back in 2017, Pat Elflein has never known what it’s like to not be a starting offensive lineman in the NFL.
That changed this season when Elflein lost his starting job to rookie Ezra Cleveland. With Elflein on injured reserve, Cleveland had the opportunity to start at right guard for the Vikings and he did enough to convince the team’s coaching staff to keep him on the field.
Once Elflein recovered from his hand injury, Minnesota removed him from the injured reserve list, and then they made a surprising move by waiving him. A few days after parting ways with the Vikings, the veteran offensive lineman has landed with a new team.
Former Minnesota Vikings blocker ends up with the New York Jets
On Monday, the New York Jets announced that they have claimed Elflein off of waivers. The former Minnesota starting guard will now join a team in the Jets that haven’t won a single game this season.
Luckily for Elflein, his contract runs out at the end of the year and he will be a free agent in 2021. So his tenure with New York could end up being a short one.
It’s still unclear exactly why Minnesota decided to waive Elflein in the first place. Even if Minnesota wanted Cleveland to continue starting at right guard, they could have at least kept Elflein around as extra offensive line depth.
But maybe that was the problem? Maybe Elflein was told he wasn’t getting his starting job back and he asked the Vikings to let him go. Now that he’s been claimed by the Jets, there’s a good chance that he probably regrets that decision if that is what actually ended up happening.
After his rookie season in Minnesota back in 2017, some felt optimistic about Elflein developing into a solid NFL offensive lineman. But he regressed in his second year with the Vikings and then he lost his job as the team’s starting center last season.
Minnesota moved him over to left guard, but things didn’t get any better for Elflein. In fact, they got worse. The Vikings switched him over to right guard this year, but he only lasted one game before injuring his hand.
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Who knows if Elflein would still be in Minnesota if he didn’t get hurt early in the season. But he’s gone now and the Vikings clearly feel fine with Cleveland as their starting right guard instead.