Minnesota Vikings RT Phil Loadholt to retire

By The Sports Xchange  |  July 26, 2016 at 12:09 AM
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Minnesota Vikings offensive lineman Phil Loadholt plans to retire from the NFL at age 30, effectively ending the competition for the starting job at right tackle.

Andre Smith, signed as a free agent in the offseason, will work with the first team when the Vikings report to Mankato to begin training camp this week.

Loadholt, 30, was a vocal leader on the offensive line and one of the most respected players on the team.

In March, he agreed to a pay cut to remain on the roster.

He was frustrated by a setback in his return from a second season-ending injury in as many years, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. He finished the past two seasons on injured reserve; in 2014 Loadholt played 11 games before a torn pectoral ended his season and last season he was lost in the preseason to a torn Achilles.

Injuries hit the Vikings' offensive line hard in 2015, with Loadholt and center John Sullivan (back) lost and new pressure points exposing quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to more hits than coach Mike Zimmer would like.

The Vikings fired offensive line coach Jeff Davidson and replaced him with Tony Sparano, who attracted left guard Alex Boone in free agency to help solidify the group.

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