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Phil Loadholt, Minnesota Vikings strike contract

Phil Loadholt was set to become one of the top free-agent offensive tackles on the NFL market. The Minnesota Vikings made sure he never got there.

As first reported by ESPN Twin Cities' Tom Pelissero, the Vikings have agreed to a multiyear contract with Loadholt. The Vikings later announced that Loadholt had re-signed, although they didn't provide terms of the deal.

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The Baltimore Sun reported Tuesday night that Loadholt's contract, which runs through 2016, is worth $25 million and comes with a $7 million signing bonus.

Loadholt, a fifth-year pro, is an outstanding run blocker who helped key Adrian Peterson's 2,000-yard season. Pelissero said the Vikings increased their offer to Loadholt to more than $5 million per season before the agreement was reached.

That sum makes Loadholt one of the highest-paid right tackles in the league, but Minnesota did not want to lose him to an NFC North rival. The Chicago Bears reportedly were interested in Loadholt, and that interest might have inspired the Vikings to extend their offer a little further.

Peterson has reached a new level of NFL greatness. He now gets the guys around him paid.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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