About this time in 2009, there was question as to where Phil Loadholt would settle in the NFL. In what would he be selected? And what position would he play? Would he use that massive arm span to corral the League’s best pass rushers as a left tackle or would he use his size and strength to maul defenders in the run game as a right tackle?
Eventually, all of those questions were answered, and they were answered by the Vikings when they selected Loadholt in the 2nd round. Loadholt had 4 productive seasons for the Vikings while playing under his rookie contract, and he proved his worth to the point that the Vikings locked him up for multiple more years on Tuesday, the opening day of the 2013 League Year.
Now, there’s no question where Loadholt is settling. Minnesota.
“I love being in Minnesota, love the community, and my family feels really at home,” Loadholt said. “It’s been great settling in Minnesota and calling it home. I was drafted here, and I wanted to come back and finish what we started here. I have a good feeling about where things are going with this team. We’ve just got to continue to build on what we’ve got and keep improving.”
A combination of ability, size and age made Loadholt an attractive option for teams looking to beef up their offensive line. The Vikings valued the 6-8, 343-pound road-grading run blocker more than anyone else, though. With Loadholt now retained as the team’s starting right tackle, the Vikings have invested heavily and wisely in their offensive line. Left tackle Matt Kalil, a 1st-round pick just a year ago and already a Pro Bowler, bookends the line with Loadholt. John Sullivan, who signed a contract extension in December of 2011, anchors the line and has emerged as one of the top centers in the NFL. At right guard the Vikings have developed 2011 sixth-round pick Brandon Fusco into a solid player and Charlie Johnson slid inside to left guard once the team selected Kalil fourth overall in 2012.
“It was important to keep the consistency we have on the line,” Loadholt said. “The more we keep working together the better we will be as a group. If we continue to stay healthy and work hard we can reach our goals.”
Of course having Adrian Peterson to block for doesn’t hurt, either.
“Having the best running back in the league makes blocking a lot more fun,” Loadholt said of his fellow Oklahoma Sooner. “Adrian makes everyone’s job easier and knowing what he can do makes you want to work even harder.”
Tags: 2013 Free Agency, Adrian Peterson, Phil Loadholt
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