EAGAN, Minn. (KMSP) - Vikings Center Pat Elfein came into 2018 with a new quarterback behind him and two injuries, but after a long road to recovery, he's ready to join the Vikings run to the playoffs.
Elfein suffered both an ankle and a shoulder injury heading into the season, which led to a difficult preseason for the veteran.
"It was tough," he told Fox 9's Vikings Gameday Live. "You just have to narrow your mindset and take it one day at a time. What can you get better at today that's going to get you ready for what you can do when you come back? You can't look too far ahead."
Elfein said having a plan and a good support system with the Vikings helped him along the way, but it still hurt knowing that he was ready to be faster and stronger than ever week one.
Elfein also reflected on his relationship with his late Offensive Line Coach Tony Sparano, who passed away in the preseason. Elfein had a lot to say about his former coach, including the words that still resonate in his head on gamedays.
It's extremely tough. I still think about coach Sparano every Sunday. I think about what he’d be saying to me if I did something good or something bad…There’s not a time that he doesn't cross my mind on Sunday. It also puts a smile on my face because I know he’s up there watching us and we’re winning, so I know he’d be happy right now.
When asked what words still ring in his head, Elfein remembered one in particular.
He would yell, “It’s worth it.” If it’s a tight game, he’d always yell that and I can hear him yelling that right now.