THIEF RIVER FALLS, Minn. — Brandon Fusco and Phil Loadholt are the Vikings version of Hans and Franz this offseason.
The right guard and right tackle are placing more emphasis on their pecs than the Saturday Night Live characters that are caricatures of bodybuilders. Instead of pumping up, the focus of Fusco and Loadholt must first be on healing up.
Fusco suffered a torn pectoral in Week 3, ending his fourth pro season that began with a contract extension. It was the first of a series of injuries on the offensive line that included a torn pec for Loadholt that happened in Week 12 and forced the veteran to miss the rest of his sixth pro season.
Fusco is trying to be fully back in action by the time the Vikings open organized team activities during the final week of May. Loadholt is hoping to participate to a degree in OTAs and be a full-go by training camp in late July.
"It's going good. I'm getting close," Fusco said. "It's the progress that I've been doing for a couple of months now. My goal is to be back fully healthy for OTAs. I've been in the weight room for about three or four weeks, slowly progressing. I'm not setting records right now, but the weights are getting up there and I'm happy with my progress. I can't wait to get back on the field."
Loadholt said he's "attacking" rehab every day at the team's Winter Park facility, "just trying to build strength right now and hopefully be able to participate in OTAs and stuff like that, and by the time training camp rolls around, be full-speed, so I'm looking forward to that."
The teammates are encouraging each other during their rehabilitations.
"Phil had to do the same exact thing as me, so he has a shoulder to lean on and any advice I can give him," Fusco said. "I try to help him out; he tries to help me out. We're going to come back strong and be the best right side in the NFL. That's our goal, and that's the way we look at it."
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Added Loadholt: "Everything I'm doing now, he's done it, and I'm just trying to chase him and compete without doing too much so I'm just trying to get ready and be 100 percent healthy."
Fusco and Loadholt managed to take a little break from the physical therapy grind over the weekend when they joined Harrison Smith, Kyle Rudolph, Charles Johnson and Adam Thielen in northwest Minnesota at the 20th Arctic Blast fundraising weekend to benefit the Vikings Children's Fund.
The current players officiated a game between Vikings alumni and staff and a community team from the town of about 9,000 that hosted the event for the first time. They also visited hospital patients and autograph/photo sessions to connect with fans.
"It's good to be back (at Arctic Blast)," Loadholt said. "For me, it's an opportunity to get up in the northern part of the state, see some of the fans that don't always get a chance to come down to the cities and see us, so it's a chance to connect with these fans up here. It's been big for me since I got here. I'm not usually on social media, so to be able to connect with these guys is good for me."