Vikings Release OL Pat Elflein

After being activated from the injured reserve yesterday, Pat Elflein is now a free agent. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that the Vikings have released the offensive lineman. The 26-year-old is now fully healthy and hopes to get an opportunity for “some real playing time elsewhere.”

The former third-round pick earned a spot on the All-Rookie Team in 2017 after starting 14 games at center for the Vikings. He played the same role in 2018, but he was switched to guard in 2019 after Minnesota drafted Garrett Bradbury in the first round of that year’s draft.

Elflein started 15 games at guard in 2019, and he started the 2020 season opener before tearing a thumb ligament. That injury forced Elflein to land on the IR, and after returning to practice three weeks ago, his IR-DTR window had recently come to an end. Therefore, the Vikings had no other choice than to activate Elflein.

As our own Sam Robinson noted yesterday, the Vikings have used veteran Dakota Dozier as a guard starter all year, and they recently moved second-round rookie Ezra Cleveland into their starting lineup at guard. Considering the recent performance of Dalvin Cook and the Vikings running game, the coaching staff apparently thought it was better to roll forward with their current grouping.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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