The Vikings are still trying to work out a few things on the defensive half of the depth chart, but one position looks like it has just about been solidified, and that’s the starting strong-side linebacker. Indications are that rookie Anthony Barr has just about wrapped up that sucker up.
Mike Zimmer gave this positive report on Barr’s progress in locking down the Sam position via Master Tesfatsion of the Start-Trib:
Zimmer said there’s a strong chance Anthony Barr could start Week 1. Getting more first team reps with each passing day #Vikings
— Master Tesfatsion (@MasterStrib) August 1, 2014
Depth chart watchers cannot have failed to notice that, over the last couple days, the trio of Barr, Jasper Brinkley and Chad Greenway has been getting the majority of the reps with the first team defense. The initial feeling-out phase appears to have wrapped up and Mike Zimmer seems to have settled on these three men as his starters.
Any concerns about Barr being slow to pick up the defense after missing OTAs while finishing up at UCLA should have been put to rest by now. Barr doesn’t seem to be having any trouble whatsoever in learning the scheme, now it’s just about him getting the reps, getting the experience and getting comfortable in his role.
That role should include nickel duties, as well as on-the-line pass rush duties in certain special packages. Barr certainly has the physical tools to do everything Zimmer calls on him to do. Now it’s just a matter of working with linebacker coach Adam Zimmer and refining his technique.
It’s looking like Rick Spielman made the right call in taking Barr #9 overall.