Right tackle Phil Loadholt is scheduled to have surgery Friday to repair a torn pectoral muscle that will end his season.
Loadholt, the Minnesota Vikings’ starting right tackle, is expected to join right guard Brandon Fusco on season-ending injured reserve. Fusco also tore his pectoral muscle in Week 3 against the New Orleans Saints.
“I think Phil is a great person. He’s very conscientious, works hard, he’s got a great heart,” Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said. “So that’s just part of football. Obviously we’ll miss him. But we’re not going to let it hold us back from what we’re trying to get done.”
Zimmer said the Vikings will look at several options to replace Loadholt, but the most likely option is tackle Mike Harris, who played 51 snaps at right guard in Week 7 when Ducasse was hurt and played nine snaps at right tackle on Sunday after Loadholt was hurt.
Harris started 10 games at left tackle as a rookie with the San Diego Chargers.
“Probably. We’ll see,” Zimmer said Monday when asked if Harris would replace Loadholt. “We’re talking about all those things now.”
“I’m just going to take it and go play hard,” Harris said. “I know my team’s counting on me to perform so that’s just what I’m going to take it as and just enjoy it for what it is. Unfortunately for Phil, he’s out. But I have to go in there and not miss a beat.”
It will be the fourth different starting lineup for the offensive line this season, with Fusco, Vladimir Ducasse and Joe Berger all getting starts at right guard and now a new right tackle.
The Vikings could also look at using Austin Wentworth at right tackle. The rookie from Fresno State spent the first three weeks of the season on the practice squad and is officially listed as a backup at right guard. But Wentworth practiced some at tackle in the offseason and Zimmer said Wentworth has continued to take some practice snaps at tackle.
“We’re continuing to look,” Zimmer said. “We haven’t said for sure we’re going to do this or for sure going to do that yet. We’re going to continue to look.”
Loadholt would be the fourth offensive lineman on injured reserve for the Vikings this year, joining offseason acquisition Josh Samuda, who was hurt in minicamp, Fusco and rookie tackle Antonio Richardson.
The Vikings also lost veteran starting quarterback Matt Cassel for the season in Week 3 with broken bones in his foot, and they have played the last 10 games without Adrian Peterson, who was suspended for the rest of the season by the NFL for violating the league’s personal conduct policy after being indicted on child abuse charges in Texas and pleading no contest to misdemeanor reckless assault.
“Everybody has injuries. That’s just the way it goes,” Zimmer said. “That’s how things happen. You just gotta keep playing.”
Vikings lose Loadholt to pectoral injury
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