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Updated: September 26th, 2011 10:56am
Source: Former Steelers left tackle Max Starks visiting Vikings

Source: Former Steelers left tackle Max Starks visiting Vikings

by Tom Pelissero
1500ESPN.com
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The Minnesota Vikings may finally be losing patience with their struggling offensive line.

An NFL source said free-agent tackle Max Starks was scheduled to visit the Vikings on Monday.

Starks, 29, played in 95 games and started 68 in seven seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, who drafted him in the third round (75th overall) of the 2004 NFL Draft and released him in late July. He was trying to come back from a neck injury that required surgery and landed him on injured reserve in November.

The onetime Florida standout played both tackle positions with the Steelers, taking over at left tackle during the team's Super Bowl run in 2008. He played under the transition tag that season and received the franchise tag in 2009 before signing a four-year, $26.3 million contract in June 2009 that included $10 million in guarantees.

The Vikings cut their left tackle, Bryant McKinnie, after he reported overweight to training camp and Charlie Johnson has struggled in his place. Right tackle Phil Loadholt had a rough day in Sunday's 26-23 overtime loss to Detroit, too, and the only other tackle with any NFL playing experience on the roster is Patrick Brown, who has played one offensive snap.

Starks is listed at 6-foot-8 and 345 pounds, although he reportedly has played in the 370-pound range. Like McKinnie, Starks has battled weight and conditioning issue in the past, and he reportedly was overweight and out of shape when the Steelers dumped him and his $5.14 million base salary shortly after the NFL lockout ended.

The Vikings surely will want to check out Starks' neck, too, although it was reported at the time the injury was not career-threatening. An MRI reportedly showed a disc problem in the upper vertebrae or neck area.

Tom Pelissero is Senior Editor and columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He hosts from 6 to 8 p.m. weeknights and co-hosts from 10 a.m. to noon Sundays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Tom | @TomPelissero | Tom Pelissero
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