EAGAN, Minn. -- Ever since Pat Elflein started training camp on the physically unable-to-perform list, the Minnesota Vikings' starting center has been a question without an answer.
Minnesota coach Mike Zimmer has purposely not revealed any sort of answer whenever he's been asked. Perhaps quarterback Kirk Cousins finally pulled back the shroud of secrecy on Wednesday afternoon.
“It’s not ideal, but it is what it is," Cousins said Wednesday when asked what it will be like playing with a center for the first time in a game. "We’re not going to dwell on what we can’t control. We’re going to focus on what we have and making the best out of it and I’m excited to build a rapport with (Brett) Jones and the rest of the O-line so that hopefully we can develop a continuity as the season goes on.’’
So it's Brett Jones, the interior offensive lineman the Vikings traded for last week from the New York Giants. It would make sense with Elflein highly unlikely to play on Sunday against San Francisco in the regular-season opener.
Earlier in the day, though, Zimmer wasn't offering any insight on who might be his starting center.
“You have to ask coach Zimmer, I don’t set the roster, but, yeah, he’s the center in walkthrough today at 10:20," Cousins added when he was asked to verify because reporters still weren't sure.
Elflein was activated from the physically unable-to-perform list over the weekend and was back practicing for the first time since training camp opened. He's expected to at least miss Week One as he continues his recovery from offseason ankle and shoulder surgeries. Elflein was listed as a limited participant in Wednesday's practice.
Jones has starting experience in the NFL. He started 13 games last season for New York at left guard and center. Danny Isidora is the 2017 fifth-round draft pick by Minnesota who has spent his career at guard, but the Vikings have tested Isidora at guard and Zimmer said it could be a natural position for Isidora.
Then, former NFL offensive lineman and analyst Brian Baldinger -- who will be part of the national radio broadcast of Sunday's game -- reported in a Tweet on Tuesday afternoon that Isidora would start.
Zimmer was asked Wednesday if Isidora would start but continued to hold his cards.
"I saw the report and it didn’t come from me," Zimmer said.
Zimmer was then asked why he believes center could be a natural position for Isidora.
"He stays in balance pretty well there," Zimmer said. "He keeps his hips square. He’s got some power on the double teams. Maybe a little condensed quarters, maybe?"
Jones was snapping to Cousins in the portion of Wednesday's practice open to the media. Isidora was snapping to backup Trevor Siemian and Elflein was snapping to Kyle Sloter.
Isidora started at center in the Vikings' fourth preseason game with Jones starting at left guard. In the second half, Jones played center with Isidora shifting to right guard.
Nick Easton, the starting left guard, was the top backup to Elflein, but he's out for the season after surgery for a bulging disc in his neck.
As for Jones, the cohesiveness with Cousins continues.
“We’re going to coach him all week and then he’s going to play center in the NFL like he’s done for a lot of games already," Cousins said.