Anthony Barr, Harrison Smith are big-time playmakers for Vikings


The Minnesota Vikings defense is developing a reputation as a hard-hitting unit that makes life miserable for QBs. Thanks to Harrison Smith and Anthony Barr, they may also soon develop a rep as a ball-hawking defense.

Both Barr and Smith came up with huge interceptions in Sunday’s road loss to the Broncos.

On both occasions it seemed Peyton Manning was putting together a drive that would allow Denver to take control, but both times the door was slammed in Denver’s face.

Barr’s interception came late in the second quarter with Denver up 13-3 and driving for another potential score.

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Had Denver scored here they might have taken control of the game and left the Vikes in the dust in the second half. But Anthony Barr had other ideas.

Barr lays back in zone coverage, reading Peyton Manning, and breaks on the ball for the pick. The only disappointing thing is that he wasn’t able to house it.

The pick set the Vikings up in good field position and they cashed it in with a touchdown to cut the deficit to 13-10 going into the half.

Harrison Smith’s INT came in the middle of the fourth quarter with the Vikings down by three and trying to get the ball back for a chance to take the lead.

It wasn’t all that impressive-looking, just a simple catch on an overthrow by Peyton Manning, but credit Smith with being in the right spot and completing the pick.

These interceptions show that Barr and Smith have both mastered their roles in Mike Zimmer’s defense and are now playing fast and loose enough to make game-changing plays.

If the Vikings could just find a couple more players of Barr and Smith’s caliber, they would be well on their way to having one of the best defenses in the NFL.

Next: Stefon Diggs emerges as a player

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