Loadholt measures up

Brad Childress and Rick Spielman were excited about drafting massive tackle Phil Loadholt in the second round. We look at what they said about him and compare his measurables from the NFL Scouting Combine with other offensive tackles in the draft.

Vikings second-round draft pick Phil Loadholt is big. By now, you know that. After all, head coach Brad Childress and vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman touted Loadholt's size often during draft weekend.

One of Childress' favorite sayings when it comes to offensive line play? "Mass kicks ass."

Loadholt has the mass thing down.

"He is a big, massive, great offensive tackle," Spielman said after drafting Loadholt. "Played left offensive tackle at Oklahoma. More of a right tackle, but has extremely good strength. His arm length is as long as anyone in the Combine or anyone coming out in the draft this year. When he went over to right tackle during the Senior Bowl showed that he could make that adjustment over there and we just think we got a heck of a football player and fill a need at the same time."

This week, Loadholt will further be able to test the second part of the Childress axiom and see how much his size on the offensive line can move defenders in the box. In the time the media was allowed to watch, much of the team's rookie minicamp was spent teaching the basics of technique and seeing just how nimble big men can be.

The level of competition will be stepped up this week in organized team activities, although getting a feel for his "nasty streak," as Spielman puts it, will be difficult during this week's non-contact activities.

The bigger issue will be determining how Loadholt has settled in on the right side of the line.

"It's just a matter of being able to get in a right-hand stance," Childress said. "You're not always going to face the premium rusher. Not that people don't flip and go over and attack your right side if they feel like they're not going to be able to do anything on your left side. You've seen us move Jared (Allen) back and forth from time-to-time. I don't feel that way. I think he's going to have the ability to be able to flip to the right side."

Spielman indicated that Loadholt might not have the footwork of Bryant McKinnie, another massive player whose size has earned him nicknames like "Mount" and "Eclipse," but Spielman said he is still a decent pass blocker.

"It's very rare that you have a guy with almost 37 inch arms. I think he's 36½-inch arms, which is extremely tough to get around. He doesn't have probably the same foot quickness that Bryant McKinnie has, but he has the same size and he's a very good run blocker," Spielman said. "I just think he's such a massive human being and he does have good feet, don't get me wrong because Bryant McKinnie has unique feet for his size. This kid has good feet and he held up in his conference, which is a pretty good conference at left side. He played left side for two years, so this guy does have the ability to go to the left side, but he's probably not foot quickness-wise as good as Bryant McKinnie but every bit everything else that you get in Bryant from a football standpoint, but now you got another giant on the right side."

Next to Loadholt's 36½-inch arms, the next longest the NFL Scouting Combine among offensive tackles was Alabama's Andre Smith. Smith was selected sixth overall by the Cincinnati Bengals. Loadholt lasted until the 54th pick.

So how does Loadholt's overall size compare with the rest of the NFL Combine crew? At 6-foot-7 6/8, only North Carolina's Garrett Reynold was within an eighth of an inch at 6-7 5/8, but Reynolds lasted until the fifth round, the 156th pick overall. Only two other tackle prospects were 6-foot-7 or taller.

How about weight? Loadholt is listed with the Vikings at 343 pounds, but he checked in at the Combine at 332. Smith and Cornelius Lewis of Tennessee State were the only other tackles that weighed at least 330 pounds, with both of them also pushing the scale to 332.

So if Childress wanted mass, he got it with Loadholt – taking blue ribbons in arms, height and weight at the Combine. He also had average hand size and bench-pressed 225 pounds 24 times, one more than the average of the offensive tackles.

But his height begged a question of Spielman about defenders being able to get leverage on Loadholt.

"If they did they weren't moving him very far," Spielman said. "And, for a tall guy, he plays with bend. That's the one main thing that sticks out and when you go through all our Olympic numbers and flexibility numbers and you twist ‘em and turn ‘em and do everything. He does play with bend for a big guy."

Apparently, he also plays with a passion that endears him to teammates, according to Childress.

"I wish I brought my notes from the guys (at Oklahoma)," Childress said during a draft-weekend stop in the media room. "Guys rally around that guy. They'd go to war with him any day. He's a hard worker. He's got a great work ethic. And he does have a little nasty to him, which is good for a big man."

The Vikings are starting to find out how this week.

NOTES

  • After missing rookie minicamp with a virus and extreme dehydration that hospitalized him, wide receiver Percy Harvin did attend the first day of organized team activities, according to Vikings.com. "It's a great feeling," Harvin told the team's web site after Tuesday's practice. "I think going through the Combine and the rookie premier and all the workouts, you kind of get out of (football) shape and you just want to get back out on the field and get moving. So it was great to get out here and start catching."

    Other media will be allowed to watch practice on Thursday.

  • Sidney Rice tweeted on the first day of practice: "First day of practice went well. Still have lots of things to work on. Don't worry, we will get it done this year!"

  • NFL Network reported that quarterback Brett Favre had a cortisone shot and threw the ball last week. Favre, who is believed to be considering a return to the NFL with the Vikings, has a torn biceps tendon in his right shoulder that might require surgery.

  • Adrian Peterson will host a Special Olympics Minnesota event for the athletes at Winter Park today.

  • Talks between the NFL and the NFL Players Association are scheduled to begin on June 1, league officials said at the owners meetings in Florida.


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