A hamstring injury forced Elflein out of Sunday’s win over the Saints during the first half. Matt Rhule had already ruled Elflein out of Thursday’s game against the Texans, but the veteran interior lineman will now have more time to recover. He will miss at least Carolina’s next three games — against Houston, Dallas and Philadelphia.
Dennis Daley replaced Elflein in Carolina’s lineup Sunday and will be in line to start Thursday. Daley started at right guard to open the season but returned to the bench initially in Week 2, with John Miller back at his post. A 2019 sixth-round pick, Daley made nine starts as a rookie and three last season.
Elflein, 27, is no stranger to injury trouble. A knee issue in Week 1 of the 2020 season led to the Vikings placing him on IR. They eventually waived their former starting center and guard, and the Jets claimed him. The Panthers signed Elflein to a three-year, $13.5MM deal in March.
Pat Elflein is joining up with the Panthers. The former Vikings and Jets offensive lineman has agreed to a three-year, $13.5MM deal with $6MM fully guaranteed at signing, as ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter tweets.
Elflein started 15 games at guard for the Vikings in 2019, and he started the 2020 season opener before suffering a torn thumb ligament. That injury forced him to the injured reserve list. And, shortly after returning to practice, the Vikings released him. That led him to the Jets, who were 0-9 at the time and had the league’s No. 1 waiver priority spot.
The Jaguars, Bears, Dolphins, Ravens, and the Washington Football Team also entered bids for Elflein — it’s not clear if the Panthers were also in that group. Either way, they were keenly interested this time around. Elflein will now be tasked with clearing lanes for Christian McCaffrey and protecting the starting quarterback, who may or may not beTeddy Bridgewater.
Add veteran NFL reporter Tyler Dunne of GoLongTD.com to the list of writers who have heard that Texans QB Deshaun Watson is not budging on his desire to be traded, and that he continues to ignore every call from Houston brass. Of course, Watson has a no-trade clause that he could use to help dictate where he goes — assuming the Texans give in and deal him, which they have insisted they are not going to do — and we recently heard that the 49ers and Broncosare on his destination list.
Dunne’s source indicates that the Dolphins — who have been considered one of the frontrunners for Watson since trade speculation started to swirl — and the Niners are Watson’s top two preferred clubs. In Dunne’s view, a trade to Miami makes too much sense to not happen, and he believes the ‘Fins and Texans could line up on a deal that sends Watson to South Beach in exchange for the No. 3 and No. 18 overall picks in this year’s draft along with Miami’s 2022 first-rounder.
Now for more rumors from the AFC East:
Recent reports have indicated that Raiders QB Marcus Mariota is generating legitimate trade interest, and Mike Reiss of ESPN.com believes the Patriots could be in the mix. New England obviously needs a quarterback, and Mariota is attached to a reasonable $10.6MM salary for 2021 and would not cost much to acquire in terms of draft capital. Although he could demand a raise if he is being acquired to serve as a starter, his current salary would not preclude the Pats from continuing to explore other options, like Jimmy Garoppolo — if the the 49ers land a different QB and release Garoppolo — or a collegiate passer.
Reiss does not expect the Patriots to make a deal with the division-rival Jets for Gang Green QB Sam Darnold, though what the Jets do with Darnold could certainly have a major impact on New England (for instance, if New York trades Darnold to San Francisco, Garoppolo could become available).
The Jets have among the most cap space in the league at just shy of $70MM, and they can easily create even more flexibility, thereby giving them a huge advantage in what could be a buyer’s market given the decreased salary cap. Connor Hughes of The Athletic believes New York will release DE Henry Anderson, which jibes with a report from December. That move will save the club $8.2MM in cap space, and Hughes suggests that guards Greg Van Roten and Alex Lewis might be goners as well (their releases would save $3.4MM and $5.1MM, respectively).
Meanwhile the Jets don’t have too many of their own free agents that must be retained. Hughes expects safety Marcus Maye to be re-signed, and he also says OL Pat Elflein — who played well in 2020 after being claimed off waivers from the Vikings — is a logical candidate to return, especially if the team moves on from Van Roten and/or Lewis.
November 16th, 2020 at 9:28pm CST by Zachary Links
The Jets, at least, have achieved something this year. On Monday, the Jets beat out five other NFL teams on the waiver wire when they picked up former Vikings offensive lineman Pat Elflein, a source tells Field Yates of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The Jaguars, Bears, Dolphins, Ravens, and the Washington Football Team all tried to claim the veteran, but the Jets’ 0-9 record gave them the upper hand.
Elflein started 15 games at guard in 2019, and he started the 2020 season opener before suffering a torn thumb ligament. That injury forced him to the injured reserve list. 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. One day later, they released the 26-year-old lineman.
The former third-rounder 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’s injury has hindered him, but he now says that he’s fully healthy. And, although his rookie contract will expire at the end of the year, the Jets will have the opportunity to evaluate him and potentially lock him up before he can reach the open market in March. The advanced metrics have never been fond of Elflein’s work, but quality linemen are in short supply, and plenty of teams were eager to take the low-cost risk before the Jets won out.
November 16th, 2020 at 3:20pm CST by Andrew Ortenberg
The Jets are using their 0-9 record to their advantage. New York has claimed offensive lineman Pat Elflein off waivers from the Vikings, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network tweets.
It goes without saying, the Jets are at the top of the waiver wire. It’s rare for a player with Elflein’s recent starting experience to hit the waiver wire late in the year, and GM Joe Douglas took advantage. A 2017 third-round pick of the Vikings, Elflein started at least 13 games in each of his first three NFL seasons. He spent his first two years at center before kicking over to left guard for the 2019 campaign.
His rookie contract is set to expire at the end of the year, so he’ll be an unrestricted free agent in March. Now the Jets can take a look at him internally and potentially lock him up before he hits free agency if they like what they see. Elflein has never graded out well as a starter by most evaluators, but it’s a decent low-risk acquisition as the Jets continue to try to improve their offensive line.
The Ohio State product started Minnesota’s opener against the Packers this year, but was then placed on injured reserve with a thumb injury. He was released nearly immediately upon being activated.
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.
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.
October 26th, 2020 at 5:10pm CST by Andrew Ortenberg
The Vikings are in the midst of an abysmal campaign at 1-5, but they at least have some reinforcements on the way. Minnesota is designating guard Pat Elflein and linebacker Troy Dye to return from injured reserve, they announced Monday.
Each can return to practice, and the team now has a three-week window to activate either player. If they are not activated in that span, they’ll be ineligible to return for the remainder of the year. Those weren’t the only roster moves the Vikings made following their bye week, as they also claimed cornerback Chris Jones off waivers from the Lions and signed cornerback Mark Fields to the active roster from the practice squad. Clearly, the Vikings feel they need help in the secondary, and it’s hard to argue with that given what we’ve seen so far.
Elflein became the Vikings’ starter at center his first two years in the league, then switched to guard last season and started 15 games there. He played every snap in Week 1 but was placed on injured reserve with a knee issue shortly thereafter. Elflein has never been viewed too positively by most evaluators, but it can’t hurt to get a starter back.
Dye is a fourth-round rookie from Oregon who could help with a defense that has been struggling mightily. He started to get defensive snaps in Week 2 after Anthony Barr picked up his season-ending injury, but then promptly went down with a foot injury of his own.
Jones is a 2018 UDFA from Nebraska who appeared in 11 games with three starts for the Cardinals last year. He had 22 tackles and six passes defended. Fields is a 2019 UDFA from Clemson who spent most of last year on Minnesota’s practice squad and has been shuffling back and forth between there and the active roster this season.
September 17th, 2020 at 3:28pm CST by Sam Robinson
The Vikings will be without one of their starting offensive linemen for at least three weeks. They are placing guard Pat Elflein on IR, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. The team announced the decision.
Elflein has previously dealt with injuries during his NFL career and just began in a key season; his rookie contract expires at year’s end. The Vikings have not disclosed Elflein’s injury, but NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero notes that the fourth-year blocker suffered a thumb malady during Thursday’s practice (Twitter link).
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 in 2019, and he started as the Vikings’ right guard Sunday against the Packers. Shoulder and ankle maladies plagued Elflein in 2018, but he only missed two games that season.
Dru Samia, a fourth-round pick in 2019, competed with Elflein this offseason and may be called upon to replace him for the time being. The Vikings also have worked with second-round rookie Ezra Cleveland at guard. Cleveland profiles as Riley Reiff‘s potential successor at left tackle, but the Boise State product may be needed to fill in inside at some point this season.