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Former OU standout Phil Loadholt is making a big impression in Minnesota

JUDD ZULGAD, Minneapolis Star Tribune Published: August 13, 2009
yant McKinnie also is 6-8 and is listed at 335 pounds.

"We pretty much talk every day,” McKinnie said. "If I see something, I let him know what he can do to correct it. Or if he has a question, he’ll come ask me and I’ll try to give my advice. It’s easy for us to relate. We’re the same size and everything where everybody is probably like two or three inches shorter than us. So when he has questions he’s definitely coming to me and I give him my input.”

McKinnie already has worked with Loadholt on getting him to bend at his knees, instead of at his waist. That will help him with his leverage in run-blocking. "That’s a big issue with me just like he told me it was for him when he first came out,” Loadholt said. "It’s just something that you have to work on.”

The Vikings are hoping Loadholt’s progress will enable them to run to the right more effectively. Last season the Vikings ran around left end more than all but one NFL team, and they ranked 19th in runs around right end. Overall, only 30 percent of the Vikings’ running plays went to the right of center.

Vikings offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, one of those who would like to see those statistics change, is pleased with what he has seen from Loadholt so far.

"He’s worked hard and he stays after it and does extra,” Bevell said. "I see him in the film room by himself. He asks a lot of questions. He wants to do it the right way. I like that out of those kind of guys.”

And Bevell surely must like the mind-set Loadholt takes when asked how hard he is on himself. "I haven’t had a good day yet,” Loadholt said. "So in my mind I just have a lot to work on and I’m looking forward to continuing to do that.”

McClatchy-Tribune News Service