Vikings starting right guard Pat Elflein did not practice on Thursday, raising suspicion of a potential injury that could knock him out of Sunday’s Week 2 game against the Colts, the Star Tribune’s Ben Goessling reported.
Elflein’s injury was much worse than anticipated as the Vikings placed him on the injured reserve list on Thursday. He will miss Sunday’s game in Indianapolis and at least two more games.
The fourth-year offensive lineman was a third-round pick in the 2017 draft from Ohio State as a guard. Elflein played the first two seasons of his career with the Vikings at center before the addition of first-rounder Garrett Bradbury. Elflein struggled at left guard in 2019 and was moved to right guard — his spot on the offensive line he played in college — this offseason to see if the move would improve his performance. He allowed five of the seven quarterback pressures that the Packers produced in last Sunday’s loss, per Pro Football Focus.
Elflein’s injury is undisclosed and does not need to be listed on the team’s injury report, a similar measure the Vikings took when they placed Danielle Hunter on injured reserve. Elflein must remain on the list for three games before he can be reactivated to the Vikings roster. He prospectively can be reactivated by Week 5, although the nature of his injury could leave him on the list longer.
Touted as one of the few position groups with continuity, the Vikings offensive line is down a starter from 2019 with Elflein out. Backup right guard Dru Samia could be in line to take Elflein’s role on the starting line.
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The Dru Samia File
Samia was a 2019 fourth-round pick out of Oklahoma by the Vikings, who traded up to get Samia at No. 114 overall.
A 2018 Big 12 Co-Offensive Lineman of the Year, Samia was touted for his athleticism and strength that resulted in a zone-blocking ability that’s akin to the Vikings offense. He didn’t allow a sack in over 400 pass-blocking snaps in his college career.
He played just 31 snaps last season in essentially a redshirt year behind former right guard Josh Kline. Samia played in the final game of the regular season against the Bears last season where he showed a nastiness and athleticism that have primed himself to take a step forward in his second season, per InsideTheVikings’ Will Ragatz.
Concerns are growing over rookie cornerback Cameron Dantzler who missed a second day of practice with a rib injury, per the Vikings’ injury report.
Fellow rookie cornerback Jeff Gladney and second-year wide receiver Bisi Johnson also landed on the injury report for a second time this week. Both players were full participants in practice on Thursday but were listed with knee injuries.
Dantzler will need to practice Wednesday in at least a limited fashion if he’s going to make the trip to Indianapolis. Gladney, who played largely in a special teams role against the Packers, could take Dantzler’s spot in the cornerback rotation if Dantzler is ruled out on Sunday.
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Trevor Squire is a Heavy contributor covering the Minnesota Vikings and journalism graduate from the University of Minnesota — Twin Cities. Connect with him on Twitter @trevordsquire and join our Vikings community at Heavy on Vikings on Facebook.