Let’s Reid between the lines…
Vikings right guard Pat Elflein missed the last seven weeks with a thumb injury, and he was finally activated off injured reserve Friday. Before he had a chance to compete for his old spot on the offensive line, the right guard was released by the Vikings in a shocking move Saturday.
It’s no secret Pat Elflein has struggled through his first four years in the league. He’s been tried at three positions along the offensive line and been a liability at each. This season, he was plugged in at right guard but went down in the season opener. It was a small sample size, but Elf didn’t look great in the few reps he had.
Because of Elfein’s injury, we saw a new face at right guard. Dru Samia became the starter and was constantly overmatched by opposing defensive linemen. He was giving up so much pressure that fans took to Twitter and awkwardly begged for an Elflein return.
Before Elflein could come off injured reserve and retake the role, Samia himself went down. The second-stringer was replaced by third-string rookie Ezra Cleveland, and this proved to be the beginning of the end for Elf. Ezra was shaky at first, but he has shown tremendous growth in only a couple weeks. Fans are hopeful he will be starting for years to come.
The decision to cut Elflein is surprising, as it saves no cap space and eliminates much needed depth. In the event of another injury, nobody wants to see Samia thrown back into the fire. It was appropriate to let Ezra Cleveland keep the starting gig, but a dangerous decision to oust Elf.