Former Vikings Star Hired to Fix Deion Sanders’ Buffaloes

Deion Sanders

Getty Deion Sanders hired on former Vikings lineman Phil Loadholdt to develop his offensive line.

Deion Sanders‘ first year as Colorado Buffaloes head coach brought unmatched attention to a program that had bottomed out a year before — and he’s now called upon a former Minnesota Vikings lineman to help the team take another step next season.

The cracks in Sanders’ overhaul of the Buffaloes roster began to show — the biggest being the offensive line. His son, Shedeur Sanders, was sacked an FBS-high 53 times despite not playing in a season finale against Utah due to a fracture in his back. The Buffaloes started the season 3-0 before skidding to a 4-8 finish to conclude the 2023 season.

While Deion Sanders’ stardom and recruiting prowess brought five-star recruits to many skill positions, getting better in the trenches is about development. Deion Sanders has called upon former Vikings right tackle Phil Loadholdt to lead the development on the offensive front, BuffZone’s Brian Howell reported on December 6.

“BuffZone confirmed Wednesday night through multiple sources that Colorado head coach Deion Sanders has hired Loadholt to coach the Buffaloes’ offensive line,” Howell wrote. “The former Oklahoma analyst and Minnesota Vikings starter is replacing Bill O’Boyle, who left this week to coach the linemen at San Diego State.”

Deion Sanders Praises Former Viking Phil Loadholdt

Phil Loadhodt

GettyFormer Vikings right tackle Phil Loadholt.

A 2009 second-round pick, Loadholdt was an immediate starter for the Vikings in their run to the NFC title game that season. He started all 89 games he played for six seasons and helped Adrian Peterson rush for over 2,000 yards in 2012. Loadholdt suffered a torn Achilles in 2015 and retired in 2016.

Loadholt has been an offensive line analyst at Oklahoma, his alma mater, for the past two seasons. He held a similar role at Mississippi from 2020 to 2021 and also worked on the staff at Central Florida in 2018 and 2019 In addition, he participated in the NFL’s Nunn-Wooten Scouting Fellowship with the Vikings in 2019, according to Buffzone.

“Offensive line position has already been filled. A guy with plenty of experience, plenty wherewithal, able to communicate to all the kids from top to bottom. Track record is wonderful. Where he derived from is a tremendous Power 5, and I love everything about it,” Deion Sanders said on Wednesday in a video with “Thee Pregame Show.” “When he interviewed with me, he knocked it out of the park. He’s ready and prepared. As a matter of fact, he’s already in house.”

Loadholdt will be tasked with developing an offensive line that struggled to protect Shedeur Sanders against Pac-12 competition.

“Are they going to just try to go portal again?” a Pac-12 coach told ESPN. “If you try to go portal for the O-line, you’re making a huge mistake, because I don’t think there are any portal O-linemen. There are a few, but the ones that are out there, they want a lot of money. They want to get overpaid.”

Deion Sanders intends to overhaul the roster once again in 2024, but he also said, “We’re not an ATM.”

“At some point, you have to develop, teach and develop,” a Pac-12 defensive coordinator said, per ESPN. “There’s some good high school offensive linemen out there, but it’s a rarity that you find true freshman to start on the O-line. It’s such a learning curve, and their bodies have got to get where they need to be.”

Colorado Buffaloes’ Deion Sanders Has More Ties to Vikings

The Buffaloes have extended ties to the Vikings considering Deion Sanders is good friends with former head coach Mike Zimmer.

Zimmer’s coaching tree has expanded into Colorado with former assistant coach Pat Shurmur serving as assistant at Colorado.

Andrew Zimmer, Mike’s nephew, is also on the Buffaloes coaching staff.