The Vikings offensive line could shuffle once again for Sunday’s NFC divisional playoff game against the Saints at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Center Pat Elflein, who missed two of the past four games because of a left shoulder injury, is expected to be ready for Sunday. The Vikings had a light practice Monday upon returning from a few days away.
“I’m ready,” Elflein said. “I’m practicing. I’m rolling.”
However, the rookie’s return doesn’t necessarily settle things. With left guard Nick Easton on injured reserve, and tackle Mike Remmers faring decently at right guard in the regular season finale, the Vikings still could start some combination putting Remmers at guard and Rashod Hill at tackle.
“[Remmers] did good at right guard,” Hill said Monday. “We’re just building off of that, though. We don’t know yet. We know we got Pat, he’s good to go and healthy and everything.”
The Vikings started seven different combinations during the regular season, but Hill’s strength as a pass protector could serve them well against the Saints defense. Veteran defensive end Cameron Jordan is coming off a career-high 13 sacks in the regular season. Jordan had two hits (one sack) and two pass deflections vs. the Panthers on Sunday.
Joe Berger, typically the Vikings’ right guard, is capable of playing either guard position if the Vikings decide to keep Remmers inside against the Saints. Jeremiah Sirles, who has 14 starts in two years for Minnesota, is another option at guard.
Remmers said he would be willing to move again inside if necessary.
“Some plays are a lot easier for a tackle and are really hard for a guard and vice versa,” Remmers explained. “So it’s just different. You know, I had to go in the playbook and double-check what the guard was doing on certain plays.”
Taking time with Bradford
The Vikings likely will take the field Sunday with the same pecking order at quarterback between starter Case Keenum, backup Teddy Bridgewater and an inactive, Kyle Sloter.
Sam Bradford, who returned to practice last week from November knee surgery, worked in two sessions before the Vikings enjoyed the bye week. Zimmer said the strategy would be to “take our time” with Bradford. The Vikings are allowed another two weeks by NFL rule to practice Bradford without activating him from injured reserve.
“I think I know, yeah,” Zimmer said of his QB pecking order. “You’ll have to wait until Sunday.”
Long snapper Kevin McDermott announced on social media that surgery on his previously dislocated left shoulder “was a success and I’m on the mend!”
The Vikings proceed Sunday against the Saints for the second game with new long snapper Jeff Overbaugh, who signed after McDermott suffered his injury Dec. 23 at Green Bay.
Super Bowl anthem
Pop singer Pink will sing the national anthem at U.S. Bank Stadium before Super Bowl LII on Feb. 4, the NFL announced. Pink will open for the halftime show featuring Justin Timberlake.
Country singer Luke Bryan sang the national anthem before last year’s Super Bowl in Houston.
One opening gone
One head coaching job was taken Monday from both Vikings coordinators when the Chicago Bears hired Matt Nagy, the Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, to replace the fired John Fox.
Vikings defensive coordinator George Edwards interviewed for the Bears opening Thursday, a day before Chicago interviewed Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur.
Shurmur had three more interviews last week with the Giants, Cardinals and Lions.