There’s a familiar face among the offensive linemen at Minnesota Vikings Training Camp this year. This time, however, he’s wearing a baseball cap and a t-shirt rather than a helmet and shoulder pads.
Former Vikings’ offensive lineman Phil Loadholt is working with the team in Eagan as a coaching intern. He’ll be with the team for the first part of camp as a part of the NFL’s Nunn-Wooten Scouting Fellowship Program, according to Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
Loadholt was a second-round pick of the Vikings in the 2009 NFL Draft, and spent his entire career with the Vikings. In the first five years of his career, he started 78 out of a possible 80 regular season games at right tackle, and started the first 11 games of the 2014 season before being placed on injured reserve. He tore his Achilles during the second game of the 2015 preseason, missing that entire season, and announced his retirement on the eve of Training Camp in 2016.
Honestly, from the pictures of Loadholt being at camp that I’ve seen, he damn near looks like he could get back out there and anchor the offensive line again. . .after all, he’s still only 33 years old. But, he seems to be at peace with his career decision.
Vikings center Brett Jones was a big fan of Loadholt in his younger years, and seems to be thrilled with the idea of being mentored by Loadholt.
“It’s so cool just to see him out here,’’ Jones said of Loadholt, who since last season also has been doing some work with the Central Florida football program. “When I meet him, I’m just going to tell him, ‘I used to have your jersey.’ Not many offensive lineman have other guys have their jersey. I’m sure he’ll be happy.’’
Kudos to Phil Loadholt on getting back into the NFL with the Vikings, and we’ll have to see if this internship leads to something bigger for him on an NFL sideline down the road.