After trading up in the second round, general manager, Rick Spielman and the Vikings didn’t wait long to make their next move. Set to pick at 79th, Minnesota swapped their third round selection and added a fifth round pick, with the New York Jets to move up nine spots in the draft on Friday. The Vikings used the 70th overall pick to take Ohio State center, Pat Elflein, to provide some much-needed offensive line help.
Elflein was the second center taken in the draft, behind LSU’s Ethan Pocic (taken 48th overall by the Seattle Seahawks) and was the sixth player to be drafted out of Ohio State this year.
Spielman and the Vikings decided to make the move, once it was apparent that there was a run on offensive linemen. Spielman made it no secret that trading is the funnest part of the draft for him. In total, Minnesota made four trades on Friday and entered the final day of the draft on Saturday with a total of seven picks remaining.
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Vikings’ Weekly: Vikings’ 2017 pre-draft roster: offensive line
Elflein played guard for his first four years at Ohio State, before moving over to center last season. He started three full seasons with the Buckeyes; starting in 40 of 53 games. Elflein was named an All-Big 10 player three times and was named a First-Team All-American last year while winning the Rimington Award given to college football’s top center.
At 6-feet-3-inches tall and 303 pounds, Elflein is a versatile lineman and could play either guard or center for the Vikings. He says he feels more comfortable at guard as the majority of his experience comes from the position. Elflein wasn’t necessarily drafted for either position as Minnesota’s coaches will ultimately decide where he lines up, however, the Vikings do have an open hole to fill at right guard.
Elflein is a physical lineman who plays with brute strength and can be a tone setter along the offensive line. He is seen as a guy who can fit offensive coordinator, Pat Shurmur’s system and provide a boost to the Vikings’ league-worst rushing attack in 2016. Elflein gives Minnesota greater flexibility up front and has the ability to a day-one starter for this team.
Despite not having a first round pick, the Vikings were able to find first round talent in the second and second recond talent in the third. It goes to show that it is not the pick that is important, but what is done with it.