Minnesota Vikings Right Tackle Phil Loadholt Out For The Season

Minnesota Vikings right tackle Phil Loadholt had to be carted off during tonight’s preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com that Loadholt has suffered a torn achilles tendon. Loadholt could tell the injury was bad, as he was visibly upset on the way to the Minnesota Vikings locker room. If the diagnosis is confirmed, it would mean Minnesota Vikings would be without Loadholt for the 2015 season. The injury came just two plays into the contest.

This marks the second consecutive season of bad luck for the Minnesota Vikings’ 29-year-old, who was placed on injured reserve last November after tearing his pectoral, causing him to miss the last five games of the season. Reports had indicated that Loadholt had been looking good during Vikings’ training camp and rehab, so this news is especially devastating. Loadholt is entering the third-year of a four-year contract worth $25 million that he signed in March of 2013.

Before his injury woes, Loadholt had appeared in at least 15 games in each of his first five seasons in the NFL.

During tonight’s contest, fourth-round draft pick T.J. Clemmings replaced Loadholt at right tackle, and currently he is the favorite to start at the position during the regular season for the Minnesota Vikings.

Clemmings was projected by some to be a first-round selection. The University of Pittsburgh alum fell to Day 3 of this year’s NFL draft due to concerns about his polish. The Minnesota Vikings’ current right guard, Mike Harris, has experience playing tackle, making a reconfiguration of the front five very possible.

If the Minnesota Vikings took to the free agent market to find a replacement, one intriguing option would be Anthony Collins, who played for the Cincinnati Bengals while Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer was serving as the team’s defensive coordinator.

This is bad news for all of the Minnesota Vikings offense, not just the offensive line. Phil Loadholt was a pillar run blocker for Adrian Peterson, and could give time to Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to find the correct target. Loadholt helped pave the way for Peterson’s magical 2,097 yard season in 2012.

Do you think the Minnesota Vikings will make a transaction in order to acquire a much-needed tight end? If not, how do you think Mike Harris or T.J. Clemmings will fare at the position? Finally, how do you think the Minnesota Vikings will play this season after finishing 3rd in the NFC North with a 7-9 record last season?

[Image Source: Hannah Foslien/Getty Images]

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