Minnesota Vikings OT Phil Loadholt ‘feeling 100 percent’


The Minnesota Vikings lost offensive tackle Phil Loadholt for all of the 2015 NFL season with an Achilles tendon injury, but is feeling 100 percent now.

Last year was a hard one of the Minnesota Vikings along the offensive line. Big injuries to center John Sullivan and offensive tackle Phil Loadholt forced a rookie and a veteran backup into the lineup to help protect quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and create running holes for Adrian Peterson.

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Perhaps the biggest hit on the offensive line was Phil Loadholt, who tore his Achilles tendon and missed every game of the 2015 season. When “Big Phil” went down, rookie 4th round draft pick T.J. Clemmings was forced into the lineup and had to learn the game as he went.

Watching Clemmings try to fill in for Loadholt was hard at times. He was posterized by elite pass rushers like Von Miller on several occasions, but did an admirable job at the position and continued to grow and develop.

Now, the Minnesota Vikings are preparing for 2016 and Phil Loadholt is back working with the team. Thankfully, the big man sounds optimistic about his future in a recent article on the WCCO CBS Minneapolis website.

"“I feel good. Feeling 100 percent healthy, doing everything with the team. So it’s just good to be back, competing with the guys,” Loadholt said."

It’s hard to believe that Loadholt is back to full health, but it’s great that he feels that way. An injury as severe as an Achilles tear can not only physically make players more careful, but it can damage their confidence as well.

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"“The hardest thing for me when I was coming back from the injury was I was ready to roll, I was ready,” said Peterson. “But mentally, that pull can really get you. Am I really ready? Can I do this? Can I not do that?”"

With the Vikings adding veteran offensive tackle Andre Smith and the continued development of Clemmings, Minnesota has a good backup plan in case things don’t work out with Loadholt’s return to the team. However, the veteran offensive tackle isn’t about to give up the starting right tackle job without a fight.

"“I really just learned how much I truly do love the game. I had some more time to spend with my family, but I love the game. You don’t get to play it forever, so to have the opportunity again is special,” Loadholt said. “Most people don’t get to play that long, so to have another opportunity is great.”"

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You can see Phil Loadholt, T.J. Clemmings, Andre Smith, and the rest of the Minnesota Vikings when they attempt to defend the NFC North championship during the 2016 NFL season. Hopefully, Loadholt can make a full recovery and help the team make an even bigger impact this year than during the previous one.