Vikings turning to rookie tackle with Loadholt out for the season?


Phil Loadholt had tears in his eyes just moments after he was injured during the second play of Saturday's Vikings-Buccaneers preseason game.

Loadholt's left Achilles was torn on the play, putting an end to his 2015 season and putting a question mark on his future in the NFL. An MRI on Sunday confirmed that Loadholt tore the tendon and he'll require season-ending surgery, ESPN reports.

Leading candidates to replace Loadholt are on the current roster. Rookie fourth-round pick, T.J. Clemmings, is expected to get the first crack at starting while Mike Harris, the current starter at right guard, is also capable of playing tackle, the Star Tribune reports.

"[Harris] has done pretty good at guard, so we'll talk about all that this week and see," Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said, per 1500 ESPN. "I thought T.J. [Clemmings] did a nice job when he was in there. He's a terrific athlete and that's where he feels more comfortable, at tackle. So, we'll just keep going there and keep going."

Clemmings entered the game Saturday after Loadholt was injured.

Clemmings was a fourth-round pick in the most recent NFL Draft, despite many experts thinking he has first-round talent. His stock dropped, however, because of a foot injury that he maintains didn't have a negative impact on him during his final season at the University of Pittsburgh.

David Yankey and Carter Bykowski, an Eden Prairie native, can also play right tackle.

Evan Mathis?

Another option for the Vikings would be to find a replacement in free agency. One name that immediately came to attention after Loadholt's injury was Evan Mathis. He was a Pro Bowl guard for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2014, but has yet to find a new team.

"That is one option,"'s Mike Wobschall wrote when asked about Mathis. "Mathis certainly knows what he’s doing, having started 78 games in his career and with Pro Bowl appearances in each of the past two seasons. But he’s also going to turn 34 this season and you have to wonder if too high a salary demand has kept him unsigned since Philadelphia released him."

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