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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Pat Elflein’s uncertain status leads Vikings to acquire center from Giants

By Judd Zulgad

Pat Elflein’s status for the Vikings’ season-opener on Sept. 9 against San Francisco remains uncertain and on Sunday the team took a step to find a replacement for the second-year center.

Veteran Brett Jones was acquired from the New York Giants for an undisclosed (almost certainly late-round) draft pick. The completion of the trade is pending Jones passing a physical with the Vikings.

The trade was announced hours after Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said Elflein will not practice this week as Minnesota prepares for its final preseason game Thursday in Tennessee. Elflein has spent all of training camp on the physically unable to perform list, although Zimmer said he doesn’t believe Elflein will open the season on that list.

That doesn’t provide any assurance that Elflein will be ready to start the season. He had offseason surgery on his shoulder and ankle — he fractured his left ankle in the NFC title game in Philadelphia — and could come off the PUP at any time during the preseason. If he were to be placed on the PUP to open the regular season, Elflein would have to sit out the first six weeks of the season.

Jones, 27, gives the Vikings much-needed depth at both center and guard. Nick Easton, who had been expected to start at left guard, was lost for the season in camp following surgery to repair a bulging disk in his neck.

Right guard Mike Remmers (ankle) returned for the opening series of Friday’s preseason game against Seattle but he had missed substantial time before that. Danny Isidora replaced Remmers after he departed Friday but struggled at times. Veteran Tom Compton has been starting at left guard but he was signed to be a backup.

The Vikings’ immediate concern is the center position. Easton replaced Elflein to start camp but when Easton went out that forced No. 3 center Cornelius Edison into service. That was far from an ideal scenario for a Vikings line attempting to protect $84 million quarterback Kirk Cousins, who isn’t known for his mobility.

It won’t be surprising if Jones immediately begins taking reps at center with the first-team offense. It’s likely Zimmer got a favorable scouting report on Jones from former Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, who is now head coach of the Giants.

Jones, who is due to make $2.9 million this season, was working with the Giants’ second-team offense.

Signed by the Giants as a free agent in 2015 after spending two seasons with Calgary of the CFL, Jones played in 30 regular-season games for New York and made 14 starts (12 at center and two at left guard). Jones started 13 games in 2017.

Jones is a native of Saskatchewan and attended Regina University. He helped Calgary to a Grey Cup title in 2014 and earned CFL All-Star honors that season. He also was named the CFL’s Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman in 2014.

The post Pat Elflein’s uncertain status leads Vikings to acquire center from Giants appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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