Now we know why.
The team announced on Wednesday morning that Pat Elflein will begin Training Camp on the PUP (Physically Unable to Perform) list. Elflein is still recovering from the fractured ankle he suffered in the NFC Championship Game against the Philadelphia Eagles. Elflein will be required to be cleared by team doctors before returning to camp. Once he is cleared, he is eligible to return to the team immediately.
Of course, this is a less than ideal start for the middle of an offensive line that already had plenty of questions coming into the season. While there are a few players capable of filling in at center while Elflein is out—especially with yesterday’s addition of Quinn—this is not the kind of continuity a team wants to start the year. The more reps the offensive line has together as a full unit, the better. But as Ted mentioned in his article yesterday, it would be wise for Vikings fans to avoid the “here we go again” mindset for now. Elflein has already proven his worth for the team. A fractured ankle is obviously a serious injury, but fractures typically have fewer long-term setbacks than ligament injuries. Hopefully this is the Vikings erring on the side of caution to ensure that Elflein is fully healthy and available when the football actually starts to count.
Like I always say in regards to the Vikings this year—don’t panic now; there will be plenty of time for that later. Until then, let’s hope for a full and speedy recovery for Elflein so he can join his teammates in Eagan soon.