The Vikings offensive line could be starting its seventh different combination in Sunday’s season finale against the Bears, one shy of last year’s injury-riddled season.
Center Pat Elflein has been held out of practice this week because of a lingering shoulder injury that first surfaced after the Dec. 3 victory in Atlanta. He missed the next week and has played two games since.
Coach Mike Zimmer didn’t provide an update on Elflein’s status after Thursday’s practice, saying “we’ll see” if he plays.
One possibility is moving right tackle Mike Remmers to right guard with Rashod Hill stepping up for his seventh start of the season. When signing Remmers this offseason, General Manager Rick Spielman said the Vikings viewed him as a possible guard. Remmers said the move wouldn’t be out of his reach.
“It’s all football,” Remmers said. “Just playing football.”
The Vikings already lost starting left guard Nick Easton because of a broken ankle Saturday in Green Bay, moving reliable backup Jeremiah Sirles into his starting role. In Easton’s absence, Joe Berger, who was the only player on the Vikings’ active roster snapping for quarterbacks at the start of Thursday’s practice, makes the most sense to replace Elflein at center if needed.
Adjustments are a process throughout the week for what could be another reconfigured line.
“It clicks though,” Hill said. “I have to adjust off what they do. On double teams, some guys take up a lot of the guy, some guys don’t take up much of the guy. It just depends on what they do. We communicate off that.”
Playoff tickets on sale
The Vikings announced a “limited number” of single-game playoff tickets will go on sale at 10 a.m. Saturday, a day before the game’s kickoff date and time will be decided. Tickets range from $80-$225 for general seating and $265-$465 for club seats for the Vikings’ first playoff game at U.S. Bank Stadium during the weekend of Jan. 6-7 or Jan. 13-14. They can be purchased via Ticketmaster.
The Vikings also announced about 92 percent of season ticket-holders already have purchased playoff tickets.
All in on Overbaugh
The Vikings are unsure if long snapper Kevin McDermott will be able to return for the playoffs as he heals from a dislocated shoulder, but they’re confident in his newly-signed replacement, Jeff Overbaugh. Overbaugh edged out former Saints long snapper Justin Drescher during a tryout Tuesday.
“I just think he had a little bit more consistent workout,” special teams coordinator Mike Priefer said. “I think Justin did a great job as well. They were the two best guys available, we thought.”
Stephen held out
The same four Vikings players — Elflein (shoulder), defensive tackle Shamar Stephen (ankle), long snapper McDermott (shoulder) and cornerback Tramaine Brock (foot) — were held out of practice again Thursday.
Stephen, who was injured in Green Bay, is sixth in the Vikings’ defensive line rotation with 384 snaps this season. If he can’t play against the Bears, rookie Jaleel Johnson is in line for some playing time.
New Year’s Eve plans?
The NFL most likely moved its Sunday Night Football finale because of New Year’s Eve, because the audience is expected to be smaller than a normal Sunday. If the Vikings beat the Bears and clinch the NFC’s No. 2 seed, you can count Zimmer among those ringing in a happy 2018.
“If we win,” Zimmer said, “I’ll probably be a little bit tipsy by about 7 o’clock.”