Vikings veterans return with key part of the offensive line injured | KFAN

posted by Joe Perovich - 

Camp began with rookies and injured Vikings reporting early, and Pat Elflein being placed on the preseason PUP list after undergoing surgeries in the offseason for shoulder and ankle injuries.

Elflein was the only Vikings player not to participate in walkthrough practice Saturday morning.

Minnesota's starting offensive line for the first walkthrough consisted of left tackle Riley Reiff, left guard Tom Compton, center Nick Easton, right guard Mike Remmers, and right tackle Rashod Hill.

Let's say second-year center Elflein's only out a week: in that case, there's little to worry about.

The Vikings can take him off the list at any time.

Minnesota and of course Elflein himself would like it if the second-year offensive lineman were there and a part of the valuable parts of training camp, which means: ramping practice reps with the first-team offense as he works his way back, the opportunity to get stronger alongside coaches and teammates, and simply overall to set himself up to be a much better player than he was as a rookie. In that first year, he proved to be a key contributor to the offensive line being able to meld and move into the future.

Any extended absence would force a domino effect of others receiving reps out of their regular and natural positions.

There's nothing to worry about until Elflein's actually missing that extended, unexpected time, but it'll be something to watch as any reps Vikings teammates like Tom Compton, Nick Easton, J.P. Quinn, or others see in his place are ones Elflein could have received with new quarterback Kirk Cousins and the rest of the offense.

Co-offensive-line coaches Clancy Barone and Andrew Janocko—both of whom were announced today by Mike Zimmer as the two people that'll team up and take over for Tony Sparano—have important and weighty decisions ahead, as important starting playing time in the future needs to be decided on.

The team wants all of its prominent offensive line players on the field for important decisions to be made, like the starting-five unit; seeing which offensive lineman and linemen units play well next to each other and with each other so important decisions by Barone and Janocko can be made early and correctly.

The sooner Elflein returns to the field, the better.

Other news and notes

Everson Griffen's left knee was not wrapped to start camp. The veteran defensive end's knee missed the entirety of OTAs and mini camp with a minor left knee injury. Zimmer said after practice, "I don't know if he's fully healthy, but if he's out there he'll go."

Minnesota waived rookie OG Chris Gonzalez and re-signed TE Josiah Price (who had been cut from the team a week ago in favor of adding C J.P. Quinn to the roster for depth purposes).

Here's a link to check out part of the nationally-televised interview ESPN's Josina Anderson and Keyshawn Johnson did with Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer.

Joe Perovich is an on-air announcer and writer at KFAN, and can be reached on Twitter (@JoePerovich) or by email (JoePerovich@iheartmedia.com)

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