Phil Loadholt: Should the Vikings cut him or keep him?


Phil Loadholt says he will be ready for offseason workouts but the Vikings may decide to cut loose the veteran right tackle long before then.

Will Phil Loadholt be back with the Vikings in 2016? Several factors will play into Rick Spielman’s decision regarding the team’s long-time right tackle.

Factor number one, as always, is money. Loadholt is set to be paid $7.75 million in 2016, the final year of his contract. If the Vikings were to cut Loadholt, they would save $6 million on the salary cap, a not insignificant amount.

Factor number two is health. Loadholt missed all of the 2015 season after suffering a torn Achilles tendon in the opening moments of the team’s second preseason game. Loadholt missed five games in 2014 after tearing a pectoral muscle.

Loadholt said recently that he expects to return from his Achilles injury in time for offseason workouts beginning in April.

Factor number three is the presence of right tackle T.J. Clemmings, the man who replaced Loadholt as a starter in 2015. Though Clemmings’ performance overall was inconsistent, he did show flashes of ability and certainly seems like a viable player. Clemmings now has a whole year of experience under his belt, and is six years younger than Loadholt.

Next: Harrison Smith disrespected

Conclusion: Though Loadholt is a solid player and a strong locker room presence, his cap number is too high to justify bringing him back to compete with the younger, cheaper Clemmings. It seems unlikely that Loadholt would beat out Clemmings in competition anyway, so he would end up a very expensive backup.

Re-negotiation is always a possibility but it’s likely that rather than re-do his current deal, Loadholt would prefer to become a free agent and seek an opportunity elsewhere. The Vikings likely will cut Loadholt and go with Clemmings as their right tackle of the future.