One clear strength of the Minnesota Vikings in 2012 was their offensive line. It was a unit that was much improved in run and pass protection and one guy responsible for that turnaround is right tackle Phil Loadholt.
We all know that offensive linemen don’t get enough credit, and that they get too much of the blame when things go wrong. It’s just the nature of the position. I was definitely guilty of placing blame on Loadholt throughout the season, but only in the penalty department. The massive lineman was flagged 11 times in 2012, the most of any lineman on the team.
When it came to blocking and creating holes for Adrian Peterson though, Loadholt was the man. Runs to the right side of the field were very successful in 2012 and Peterson for one would like that trend to continue. AP recently commented on Loadholt (a free agent to be) and his place on the Vikings:
“I’ll probably talk to ‘em (management), just to get that guy in. He’s just been improving each year. I’m going to keep my arms around him this off-season as well, just to make sure he’s staying on top of this game and he’s working out and he’s doing the necessary things to make someone want to bring you back as well. So I’ll have my toe in somewhere.”
Re-signing Loadholt is another top priority for the franchise this off-season. He’ll be due a substantial raise from his average annual salary of $856,250 through his first four seasons, but it will be worth every penny.
The Vikings are a team with plenty of cap space, and there’s no excuse to not re-sign a talented young tackle like they’ve got with Loadholt. Locking him up will secure a solid pair of tackles with he and Matt Kalil for many years to come.
Everything starts up front for the Vikings. They’re a team that runs first and I don’t think there’s any way that Loadholt is not re-upped to block for Peterson for many years to come.
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