EDIT: Loadholt's getting some serious cake. Per Tom Pelissero, Loadholt's contract is for 4 years at $25 million, with a $7 million signing bonus. The deal averages $6.25 million per season, which makes him the second highest paid right tackle in the NFL.
The Vikings aren't completely cleaning house.
A day after the departure of Percy Harvin, one of their best offensive players, and hours after the departure of Antoine Winfield, one of their best defensive players, Minnesota is keeping one of the anchors of their offensive line in the proverbial water. Phil Loadholt has signed a multi-year deal to stay with the team, according to local professional news breaker Tom Pelissero. Just like Jerome Simpson's deal we discussed earlier today, the terms of the contract aren't immediately available but we'll update this post when we know more. During the early part of Rick Spielman's press conference on Tuesday, he said that re-signing Loadholt was the team's top priority.
Unlike Simpson's deal, Loadholt's contract could have a pretty big effect on how much cap room the Vikings have to pursue other free agents. The Bears were rumored to have been pursuing Loadholt pretty heavily. One would assume that a protection-starved team like Chicago would offer quite a bit for a right tackle like Loadholt, so it will be interesting to see how much the Vikings had to pony up to keep him.
As we've discussed in this space multiple times in the past couple weeks, Loadholt has caught some grief with fans throughout his career but has improved into a very solid right tackle. He's already one of the best run blockers in the league and his pass protection has rated above average the past couple seasons.
One of the best things a team can have along their offensive line is continuity, and the Vikings ensured that with this signing.
2013 free agency is only 30 minutes old, so stay tuned for much, much more!