With so much concern in the fan base, if not the team itself, about both the right side of the New York Giants offensive line and the overall depth of that group, keep in mind that it is early June. Rosters are at 90, not 53, and between now and Week 1 of the regular season it is likely that some veteran offensive linemen become available.
Phil Loadholt, right tackle for the Minnesota Vikings, might be one of those. Let's talk about why Loadholt's hold on a roster spot in Minnesota might be tenuous, and whether or not he is a player who might help the Giants if he does become available.
Loadholt, a 2009 second-round pick, was the Vikings starting right tackle from the time he was drafted until a pectoral injury sidelined him for the final five games of the 2014 season. He missed the entire 2015 season with a torn Achilles tendon.
Loadholt, 30, is healthy now, and says he is "Feeling good. Moving around good." He is, however, returning to a Vikings team where he is no longer guaranteed a starting job, or any job.
Minnesota has veteran Matt Kalil at left tackle. They signed veteran right tackle Andre Smith to a one-year deal to compete with Loadholt. The Vikings also have 2015 fourth-round pick T.J. Clemmings, who started at right tackle last year and is likely to be the team's swing tackle.
So, should Loadholt not beat out Smith you have to believe there is a possibility the 6-foot-8, 345-pounder could be available before the start of the season.
Here are Loadholt's career Pro Football Focus grades:
- 2009: +12.7 (Pass block: +11.6 (9 SK, 7 Ht, 18 Hu); Run block: +2.3)
- 2010: -10.9 (PB: -1.4 (3 SK, 4 Ht, 33 Hu); Run block: -4.2)
- 2011: +12.7 (PB: -6.3 (9 SK, 1 Ht, 32 Hu); Run block: +20.1)
- 2012: +15.9 (PB: +2.2 (4 SK, 4 Ht, 23 Hu); Run block: +17.3)
- 2013: +24.2 (PB: +6.7 (4 SK, 5 Ht, 27 Hu); Run block: +16.3)
- 2014: +2.9 (PB: -3.4 (5 SK, 6 Ht, 22 Hu); Run block: +3.1)
The Giants, of course, have Marshall Newhouse at right tackle. Bobby Hart, a 2015 seventh-round pick, has been seeing second-team reps at that spot but many believe he is better suited to play guard.
Loadholt, then, could be an interesting name to watch. It seems unlikely that the Vikings would cut bait soon, probably waiting until toward the end of the preseason to see who is healthy and playing the best. That would give NFL teams ample time to see game film of Loadholt and make a judgment on how healthy he is. It would also give the Giants time to form a better opinion on what they have with Hart and other players competing for backup roles.
Mind you, there is no indication at this time that Loadholt is a player the Giants are currently interested in. Reading the market, though, the Minnesota situation is one to pay attention to.