Vikings announce Phil Loadholt retirement

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As expected, Vikings tackle Phil Loadholt has retired. A second-round pick in 2009, the last year the Vikings played in the NFC title game, Loadholt finishes ninth in career starts at the tackle position for the franchise, with 89.

“When you think of the Vikings you think of players like Phil Loadholt,” Vikings owner/president Mark Wilf said in a statement. “He carried himself as a professional and gave his all for his teammates. Phil will be a Viking for life. He was a great player and a better person. We wish him and his family all the best.”

Loadholt could have added up to 16 more starts last year, but a torn Achilles tendon suffered in the preseason kept him from adding to his list. This year, he was on track to not start at all.

“I first want to thank the Wilf Family for the wonderful opportunity they gave me seven years ago,” Loadholt said in a statement. “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 counts for $1.75 million this year, the last installment of the signing bonus on his second contract. When he accepted a pay cut earlier this year, any potential obligation to repay the amount presumably was wiped off the books via a new contract, meaning that he won’t have to repay the money.

So that’s one area where the decision to take $3.4 million less may have helped him. But for the pay cut, Loadholt may have been required (technically) to return the money.