Vikings Aim To Keep RT Loadholt, OL Continuity

Posted by Mike Wobschall on February 11, 2013 – 7:49 am

There’s been much buzz in recent days regarding the Vikings 1st-round draft pick from 2009 – Percy Harvin. While that appears to be a topic that will remain relevant for a time, the Vikings will also face a decision on their 2nd-round pick from the same draft – RT Phil Loadholt.

The 6-8, 343-pound road-grating run blocker and Christian Ponder protector is not under contract for next season and could hit the unrestricted free agent market if he doesn’t agree to a new deal with the Vikings before the launch of the new League year (mid-March). Re-signing Loadholt should be a big priority for the Vikings as they come off a season in which they started the same five offensive linemen for all 16 games, reduced their sacks allowed total from 49 to 32 and tied a team record for rushing yards. Loadholt was a big part – literally and figuratively – of that effort, and he’s a player the Vikings would be fortunate to retain going forward.

Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman, while discussing this topic and many more last week with Voice of the Vikings Radio Network Paul Allen and Friday co-host Paul Charchian, seemed to agree.

“Phil Loadholt is a good football player for us,” Spielman said. “Our offensive line had a lot of wholesale changes up front, getting Matt Kalil, moving Charlie (Johnson) inside to left guard, the emergence of (John) Sullivan, who I think is a Pro Bowl center, the development of Brandon Fusco and Phil Loadholt. Our objective is to hopefully keep all those guys together for the next three, four, five years.

“Continuity is a huge part of it on the offensive line because those guys have to work as one unit and they have to know each other inside and out. They work together on combination blocks, on picking up stunts and twists when they’re in pass pro passing off. I think continuity is a big key to that. We’d love to keep Phil Loadholt, so we’ll try to do everything we can to keep Phil Loadholt but we also have a lot of guys we’d like to keep.”

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