The Vikings haven’t quite nailed down the No. 2 seed in the NFC and their attempt to do it by beating the Bears will happen without the help of center Pat Elflein.
Elflein has been ruled out of Sunday’s game due to a shoulder injury that kept him from practicing this week. It’s the second game that Elflein, who was a third-round pick this April, will miss this season.
Elflein’s injury comes when the Vikings were already dealing with some changes to the offensive line. Left guard Nick Easton fractured his ankle last Saturday, which moved Jeremiah Sirles into the starting lineup. Right guard Joe Berger is expected to take over at center, which will mean further shuffling up front.
The Vikings’ most direct route to a first-round bye is beating the Bears. If they don’t, they can still lock up the No. 2 spot with a loss by the Panthers or wins by the Saints or the Rams.