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Loadholt Out; Depth Becoming A Problem For Minnesota Vikings

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By Joseph Gunther

Offensive tackle Phil Loadholt suffered a concussion during Sunday’s loss to the Dallas Cowboys and has already been ruled out for Thursday’s game against the Washington Redskins.

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - DECEMBER 05: Phil Loadholt #71 of the Minnesota Vikings on the sideline against the Buffalo Bills at the Mall of America Field at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome on December 5, 2010 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

Phil Loadholt #71 of the Minnesota Vikings (Credit, Nick Laham/Getty Images)

Loadholt has not missed a game since 2009, his rookie season. However, not having him on the field will mark the first time since the beginning of last season that the team will not have the same five starting offensive linemen – a streak of 25 straight games.

Loadholt was rewarded for his play with a contract extension last offseason.

“Phil is a vital part of our offensive line, one of our top players,” head coach Leslie Frazier said. “But that’s one of the reasons we signed J’Marcus (Webb).

“He’ll go in and he’ll play well. He’s familiar with our system now. It’s a great opportunity for him,” said Frazier.

The Vikings signed Webb after he was released by the Chicago Bears in September. He started 44 games for the Bears, including every game in each of the last two seasons. He was originally drafted by the Bears in the seventh round of the 2010 draft.

Along with Loadholt, the Vikings also lost tight end Kyle Rudolph for several weeks with a broken left foot. His departure opens the door for John Carlson to prove why the team signed him prior to the 2012 season.

The Vikings depth, or lack thereof, has shown this season with several starters missing significant time. The defensive backfield has been hit extremely hard with one opening day starter on injured reserve and the other three starters and one key reserve on this week’s injury report.

“It happens to some teams some years, and some years you don’t get it,” Frazier said. “It’s a part of our game. It happens.”

The defensive backfield is getting hit hard with injuries with Xavier Rhodes hoping to play despite suffering two injuries on Sunday.

He first suffered a shoulder injury in the second quarter, but returned only to injure his knee in the fourth quarter. He tried to return, but aggravated it and did not want to make it worse.

“We’ll see how it goes tomorrow,” Rhodes said. “It got better from what it was yesterday. Hopefully it’ll be right tomorrow.”

The complete injury report:

The Vikings declared running back Matt Asiata (shoulder), cornerback Chris Cook (hip), defensive tackle Fred Evans (knee), Loadholt (concussion), Rudolph (foot), and safety Jamarca Sanford (groin) out for Thursday’s game.

Defensive tackle Letroy Guion (chest/knee) and offensive tackle Charlie Johnson (elbow) are listed as doubtful, which means there is only a 25 percent chance they will play.

Tight end Rhett Ellison (ankle) is listed as questionable, which gives him a 50 percent chance of suiting up.

Cornerbacks Rhodes (shoulder) and Josh Robinson (chest) and linebacker Chad Greenway (wrist) are listed as probable, which means there’s a 75 percent chance they will play.

For more Vikings news and updates, visit Vikings Central.

Joseph Gunther is an avid fan of Minnesota sports, including football, hockey and baseball. He covered a wide variety of sports while attending Hastings College in Hastings, Neb. While at Hastings College, he was a part of the first collegiate media group to broadcast a national tournament via television, radio, internet and newspaper at the 2004 NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball Tournament. He grew up in the Twin Cities playing three years of varsity football in high school. Joseph is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.

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