Tuesday March 12th, 2013

Phil Loadholt would have been one of the top tackles on the free-agent market. (G. Newman Lowrance/AP) Phil Loadholt would have been one of the top tackles on the free-agent market. (G. Newman Lowrance/AP)

Phil Loadholt played an important role in Adrian Peterson's sensational 2012, manning the right tackle spot while Matt Kalil locked down the left side. So, the Vikings did not want to let Loadholt get away ... and especially not to division rival Chicago.

Minnesota avoided that scenario Tuesday, agreeing to a multi-year deal with Loadholt just prior to the start of free agency. Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com, who first reported the deal, added that Loadholt's new contract is worth an average of more than $5 million per year.

No financial numbers have been released as of yet, but barring an unexpectedly massive contract, the Vikings should be thrilled with this development. So, too, should Adrian Peterson, who just lost Percy Harvin as a complementary weapon in a deal with Seattle. While Peterson may be the only real offensive threat the Vikings currently have, he at least will have the benefit of a familiar offensive line in 2013.

The Vikings needed to get Loadholt back in the fold, and they did so just in time. Grade: A-minus. A $5 million-plus price tag per season is hefty for a right tackle, but Loadholt was one of the better at his position last season and continuity up front is huge.

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