Joe Berger, Phil Loadholt get first-team reps in OTAs
By Dan Zinski
Joe Berger and Phil Loadholt both worked with the first-team offense in early OTAs practices.
Once again, we are being taught that assumptions mean nothing when it comes to the NFL.
Prior to this week’s first round of OTAs, we all kind of assumed that John Sullivan and Andre Smith had been penciled in as starters for the Vikings at center and right tackle respectively.
I mean those conclusions seemed logical right? But when the Vikings held their first open practice of OTA session number 1, who performed with the first team at center and right tackle?
Joe Berger and Phil Loadholt (via Minneapolis Star-Tribune).
Once again, we learn that we actually know nothing.
Of course if we have fully absorbed the lesson “don’t assume anything,” we should also apply it to the situations at center and right tackle going forward.
In other words, just because Berger and Loadholt got first-team reps early in OTAs, don’t assume those guys will be the starters once the season opener rolls around.
A lot can happen between now and September, as everybody knows. Last year Minnesota went into training camp with Sullivan at center and Loadholt at right tackle, but neither man played a single regular season game.
Berger stepped in for Sullivan and played great, and he’s being rewarded by receiving first-team reps while Sullivan works his way back.
As for the right tackle spot, if I had to guess, I would say the Vikings wanted to get Loadholt in there early and see what if anything he still has left coming off an Achilles tear. Reports from practice say Loadholt looked “rusty.”
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I’m sure Loadholt will be given every chance to prove he can still play, but if I had to place a bet, my money would be on Andre Smith ending up the starter when all is said and done.
If the process ends with Loadholt being kept as a solid backup, then the Vikes will be happy. If it ends with the Vikings determining that Loadholt is finished after back-to-back serious injuries, then that’s just how it goes.