Vikings right tackle Phil Loadholt injured his leg on the team’s first possession tonight and will not return to the game. A league source confirmed that the preliminary diagnosis was that Loadholt suffered a season-ending torn Achilles tendon.
Two plays into the team’s second preseason game, against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Loadholt was injured on a running play. He walked off with athletic trainers and was evaluated on the sideline. Soon, he was loaded on a cart and hauled inside the locker room. Loadholt exited with his left shoe removed and a towel over his head.
Rookie offensive tackle T.J. Clemmings replaced Loadholt as the first-team right tackle and played the remainder of the first half.
Loadholt missed the final five games of the 2014 season with a torn pectoral muscle. He wasn’t cleared to be a full-go until the start of training camp.
The Vikings used Mike Harris as the backup swing tackle last season, but he’s been slotted as the starting right guard through two preseason games. Following a season in which the Vikings dealt with injuries at three of the five starting spots along the offensive line, they could enter Week 1 with a new right guard in Harris and a rookie right tackle in Clemmings.
Loadholt will enter the final year of his contract next season. He signed a three-year extension worth $25 million in 2013. Loadholt, who will turn 30 in January, has an guaranteed base salary of $5.4 million next year.