Two days in to organized team activities and the Vikings have wasted no time making it clear that first-round pick Garrett Bradbury is their starting center.
That means Pat Elflein is locked and loaded as the starting left guard.
“We welcomed him with open arms,” Elflein said of Bradbury, via Vikings.com. “I always knew I could play either … I’m position-flexible. We like Garrett, and it’s a smooth transition.
Elflein played left guard at Ohio State before moving to center and winning the Rimington Award as the nation's best center in 2017. Bradbury won the same award in 2019 at North Carolina State.
“We’re both interior linemen, that’s how it works,” Bradbury said, according to the Vikings. “The depth chart isn’t etched in stone until Game 1, so no one cares who is where right now. We’re just trying to learn the system and build rapport.”
The starting unit might not be etched into stone just yet, but there appears to be a pretty good understanding of what it's going to look like.
- LT: Riley Reiff
- LG: Pat Elflein
- C: Garrett Bradbury
- RG: Josh Kline
- RT: Brian O'Neill
O'Neill is likely the starting right tackle barring Reiff going down with an injury at left tackle. But according to the Star Tribune, it was Rashod Hill lining up at right tackle with the starters on Wednesday because O'Neill was sidelined for an unknown reason.
Elflein added that Bradbury will make the offensive line "better as a unit."
Pro Football Focus (PFF) ranked Minnesota's offensive line 29th out of 32 teams last season.
"Outside of left tackle Riley Reiff – who himself had some ugly outings, most notably Buffalo – the Vikings didn’t have a single offensive lineman with a top-80 grade this season. Their interior was quite easily one of the worst in the league. Tom Compton, Pat Elflein, and Mike Remmers combined to give up 18 sacks on the season."
Compton and Remmers are gone, and with a blue chip rookie center the Vikings will have an entirely new interior on the line. Plus, Elflein is entering the season healthy compared to last year when he missed the first three games while recovering from offseason shoulder and ankle surgeries.
Elflein received "below average" grades across the board from PFF last season after finishing his rookie campaign in 2017 with "above average" marks.