SUNDAY, 9:09pm: An MRI has confirmed Loadholt’s Achilles tear, ESPN’s Ben Goessling reports (Twitter link). He’ll require season-ending surgery.
SATURDAY, 8:43pm: Vikings right tackle Phil Loadholdt was carted off the field during tonight’s preseason game against the Buccaneers, and a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link) that Loadholt has suffered a torn Achilles. If confirmed, the diagnosis would mean Loadholt would miss the 2015 season.
This marks the second consecutive season of bad luck for the 29-year-old Loadholt, who was placed on injured reserve last November after tearing his pectoral. Reports indicated that Loadholt had looked good while working to return from that injury, so this latest news is especially devastating. A starter along Minnesota’s offensive line for six seasons, Loadholt is entering the third year of a four-year, $25MM contract that he signed in March of 2013.
Fourth-round rookie T.J. Clemmings replaced Loadholt at right tackle during the game, and he’s the favorite to do during the regular season, as well. Projected by some as a first-round pick, Clemmings — a Pitt alum — fell to Day 3 due to concerns about his polish. Mike Harris, currently slated to start at right guard, also has experience at tackle, so it’s possible that the Vikings could completely re-figure their front five.
If the Vikings preferred to look at the free agent market for a replacement, one intriguing option could be Anthony Collins, who was with the Bengals during current Vikes head coach Mike Zimmer‘s tenure as defensive coordinator.