Vikings offensive lineman Phil Loadholt has informed the team of his plans to retire. Loadholt has struggled to stay healthy in recent seasons so while news of his retirement is somewhat surprising, it does not come as a shock. On Monday afternoon, the Vikings issued a press release confirming the news:
“I first want to thank the Wilf Family for the wonderful opportunity they gave me seven years ago. There’s a lot of people to thank – Rick Spielman, Rob Brzezinski, George Paton, Scott Studwell and all the personnel people. My head coaches – Brad Childress, Leslie Frazier and Mike Zimmer. My position coaches – Pat Morris, Jim Hueber, Jeff Davidson, and Tony Sparano. The entire Vikings support staff and most important – the Vikings fans and my teammates. This chapter in my life is closing and I look forward to seeing what the next one brings. I’ll always love this game and the opportunity to do something I dreamed about since I was seven years old. But, my body is telling me it’s time to hang up my cleats.”
Loadholt, 30, was placed on IR in each of the previous two seasons, playing in just 11 total games. In 2014, a torn pectoral ended his season after 11 games. In 2015, he tore his Achilles’ tendon, ending his season before it could even begin.
Back in March, Loadholt accepted a pay cut in order to stay with the Vikings. The new deal was supposed to give the tackle a $2MM base in 2016 with up to $3.5MM through incentives, demonstrating that Loadholt was willing to bet on himself after a year away from live action. Before the two major injuries, Loadholt missed only one game from 2009-13. Loadholt suited up for 15 contests in 2013 and graded out as a top-five tackle by Pro Football Focus’ standards.
Loadholt now retires after playing six seasons in the NFL, all of which were spent with the Vikings. In total, Loadholt appeared in 89 games and started every single one. We here at PFR wish Loadholt nothing but the best in retirement.
Loadholt’s retirement was first reported by Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (via Twitter). Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.