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.
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