After returning to practice nearly three weeks ago, Pat Elflein may be back in a Vikings game uniform Monday. The Vikings are activating the veteran interior lineman from IR.
As was the case with Titans cornerback Adoree’ Jackson, Elflein may not play in Week 10. The Vikings needed to activate the guard starter because his 21-day IR-DTR window was set to close. Elflein is now back on Minnesota’s 53-man roster, but he did not practice Friday.
Elflein suffered a torn thumb ligament during practice ahead of the Vikings’ Week 2 game and underwent surgery. Minnesota drafted Elflein in the third round in 2017 and slotted him as its starting center as a rookie. The team moved him to guard in 2019, upon drafting Garrett Bradbury, and he started at right guard in Week 1 against the Packers.
The Vikings have used veteran Dakota Dozier as a guard starter all year and recently moved second-round rookie Ezra Cleveland into their starting lineup at guard. Dalvin Cook has reeled off back-to-back dominant performances behind Minnesota’s reconfigured line, so Elflein’s role upon return will be interesting. He has, however, started 43 of his 44 career games. Elflein’s rookie contract expires at season’s end, making the second half of this campaign critical for his hopes at an extension or a big free agency payday.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.