UPDATE: Elflein’s injury is reportedly a thumb injury that he suffered in practice on Thursday.
Whether they wanted to or not, the Minnesota Vikings are making a change on the offensive line.
The Vikings have just announced that they have placed starting right guard Pat Elflein on the injured reserve list, meaning that he will miss at least the next three games.
Elflein is in the final year of the contract he signed when the Vikings drafted him in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft. He played center in his first couple of seasons with the Vikings before moving to left guard in 2019. This season, the team had shifted him over to right guard.
The injury to Elflein leaves the Vikings with a hole at the right guard spot, and it will be interesting to see who will fill it. Second-year man Dru Samia is a candidate, though he’s only played in one NFL game. Still, that’s one more game than the other likely candidate, rookie Ezra Cleveland, who was inactive for Sunday’s loss to Green Bay.
The Vikings also have Brett Jones and Aviante Collins on the practice squad after releasing both in their final cuts before the season. Either of them could be “elevated” from the practice squad should the team choose.
We’ll have to see which direction the Vikings want to go to determine who starts between Garrett Bradbury and Brian O’Neill on the right side of the offensive line. For at least the next three games, however, it will be a different face than the one that they were expecting to see there.