Vikings starting offensive lineman could return this week vs. the Jaguars

(Photo by Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports) Ezra Cleveland
(Photo by Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports) Ezra Cleveland /

Minnesota Vikings right guard Ezra Cleveland was a participant in Wednesday’s practice.

There was plenty of uncertainty in the air a few weeks ago when the Minnesota Vikings were forced to make rookie offensive lineman Ezra Cleveland their new starting right guard.

Aside from being a rookie, Cleveland spent the majority of his college career at Boise State as an offensive tackle. So it wasn’t hard to understand why some had their concerns about the Vikings selecting him to be their new starting right guard.

During his first four starts with Minnesota, Cleveland actually turned out to be a pleasant surprise and now he’s got people thinking whether or not he could be the team’s permanent solution at right guard. Unfortunately, the rookie blocker has missed the Vikings’ last two games due to an ankle injury.

Ezra Cleveland could return to Minnesota Vikings in Week 13

On Wednesday, Minnesota got some good news about Cleveland as he was a participant in the team’s practice session. The Vikings listed him as a limited participant on their injury report, but the rookie practicing is still a good sign that he could return to action for the team this week against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Without Cleveland in the lineup, Minnesota quarterback Kirk Cousins certainly dealt with more pressure up the middle from opposing defenses. So the rookie returning to practice on Wednesday is certainly something that should excite Cousins.

Cleveland also played a large part in Dalvin Cook’s recent string of success. With the rookie lining up at right guard from Week 8 to Week 10, Cook averaged 155 yards on the ground per game. In the Vikings’ last two matchups without Cleveland on the field, Cook only averaged 88 yards per contest.

Obviously, there are other factors that have contributed to Cook’s recent success. But having Cleveland in the lineup certainly seemed to make a difference for the Minnesota running back.

If the rookie continues to practice for the rest of the week, he should have a pretty good chance of suiting up for the Vikings when they host the Jaguars on Sunday inside U.S. Bank Stadium.