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Phil Loadholt informs Minnesota Vikings he is retiring

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Vikings offensive tackle Phil Loadholt is hanging up the spikes. The offensive lineman officially informed the team of his decision to retire, the team announced on Monday.

The 30-year-old former second-round pick played in 89 games over six seasons in Minnesota. The Vikings sliced Loadholt's $6 million salary down to a $2 million base plus incentives before the season started -- perhaps as a counter-measure to Loadholt missing the last 21 Vikings games with a shoulder issue in 2014 and a torn Achilles tendon, which caused him to miss all of last season.

The Vikings signed former Bengals first-round pick Andre Smith this offseason to compete with Loadholt for the starting job. They were expected to get rid of at least one big-named veteran this summer during training camp.

So it goes for teams hoping to score a solid talent at a bargain price during training camp. Former Ravens and Jaguars tackle Eugene Monroe announced his retirement last week after he was cut by the Ravens. Loadholt opted to do the same instead of playing the waiting game.

The announcement leaves former Giants left tackle Will Beatty as the best free agent available or soon-to-be available on the market.

Loadholt came out of Oklahoma in 2009 and straight into the Vikings' starting lineup. The 6-8, 345-pound behemoth was the picture of consistency between his rookie season and 2013, when he started at least 15 games per season, helping pave the way for some of Adrian Peterson's greatest moments in Purple and Gold.

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