NFL free agency: Vikings close to deal with Phil Loadholt, according to report

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings are fighting with the Bears, if the rumors are true, for one of the top tackles on the market.

The Minnesota Vikings already have several holes to fill this offseason, so it's important they hold onto their own free agents if possible. The good news is that offensive tackle Phil Loadholt is expected to remain with the team, according to Tom Pelissero.

Loadholt was linked to the Chicago Bears in the last 24 hours as the NFC North rivals are hoping to help rebuild their line in front of Jay Cutler. But the Vikings need to sign Loadholt themselves to protect Christian Ponder, and it appears Loadholt is willing to stay.

The 27-year-old tackle was the Vikings' second-round selection in the 2009 NFL Draft, and he's been a mainstay at right tackle ever since. While no official terms of a contract will be made known for a while, Loadholt was wanting more than $5 million per season.

The Bears, meanwhile, still have several options on the open market to address their tackle needs, including potential targets like Jake Long of the Miami Dolphins and Andre Smith of the Bengals.

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