Anthony Barr Quietly Putting Together Solid Rookie Year


When the Vikings drafted linebacker Anthony Barr with the 9th pick in this year’s draft, many fans were surprised by the selection.  They expected Minnesota to take either a player that was more polished, more of a scheme fit with the old regime, or perhaps even a dynamic young quarterback with their first pick.  Instead, they landed much more than fans thought they would with that pick.

Barr was touted as a very raw prospect.  His lack of experience at the linebacker position accompanied with Vikings fans ill-familiarity with pass rushing linebackers put many fans off on Barr.  However, preseason came and he got to show just how much of a monster he can be.  Not only did he get quarterback pressures when blitzing, but he showed an amazing ability to drop back into coverage when needed.  His athleticism and raw talent get him by, but he is being shaped under first year head coach Mike Zimmer into a versatile player who can do anything on the field asked of him.

Aug 8, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr (55) against the Oakland Raiders at TCF Bank Stadium. The Vikings defeated the Raiders 10-6. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

During preseason, he put up some solid numbers.  Here were his statistics through 3 preseason games:

  • 4 total tackles
  • 1.5 sacks
  • 1 forced fumble

That momentum has carried over to the regular season, where he has now has 17 combined tackles, 1 sack, and 1 pass defense in the Vikings first 3 games.  His name has been tossed around in early conversations about Defensive Rookie of the Year honors, but that isn’t the only thing that should have Mr. Barr pleased.

Recently, it was announced that because of an injury to long time Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway that Anthony Barr will most likely relay the plays from the coaches to the players on the field in Minnesota’s next game on Sunday.  This is a privilege that is usually given to defensive captains or team veterans.  The fact that a rookie linebacker as raw as Anthony Barr gets chosen to execute an important part of the team’s game plan says a lot for the Vikings thoughts and opinions of him.

It’s even scarier to think that the young player hasn’t even come close to realizing his potential.  If Anthony Barr can continue to develop the way he is, the sky is the limit for his potential.