Minnesota Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr is included as part of ESPN’s Top 100 Players of 2016 list, which as revealed players #100-50 to this point.
Fans of the Minnesota Vikings who pay attention to national media are used to their favorite team being ignored. While much of the attention around the league goes to teams like the Dallas Cowboys, New England Patriots, or Green Bay Packers, the boys in purple are quietly grinding away hoping to make some noise during the 2016 season.
It may be a lack of a major market. Possibly it is the lack of players with massive personalities or legal issues that keep them out of the headlines. But something is keeping most major media outlets from talking about the great play from many of these Vikings players.
ESPN hasn’t fallen into this trap quite yet. Recently, they released the first half of their list of #NFLRank 100-51: Counting down NFL’s best players (their title…definitely not mine) and one player was included in the countdown from #100 to #51.
Tied for #73 with an average rating of 80.40 as determined by a panel of over 50 individuals close to sport, Minnesota Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr was placed.
ESPN’s Ben Goessling spoke about Barr, his value to the team, and why his statistics on paper may be misleading:
"“Barr’s numbers don’t pop off the page yet, in part because of injuries that have dogged him during his first two seasons. The 6-foot-5 linebacker, however, might be one of the most important players in the Vikings’ defense because of what he means to their vaunted double-A gap blitz package. Barr posted 3.5 sacks last season, broke up seven passes, forced three fumbles and had a 32-yard return off an interception of Peyton Manning last October.”"
It’s strange to see a player that can take on so many different roles be good at each one of them. Typically, when a player enters the NFL, they specialize in one or two things and a team will build their role on defense around their strengths. Since Barr has so many strengths, the team doesn’t have to worry about asking him to do anything in the defense, because they know whatever job he is given will get done.
Anthony Barr will be one of many Vikings players taking the field during the 2016 season hoping to improve upon last year’s accomplishments. With 50 more players to be named during ESPN’s countdown, there could be more from Minnesota joining Barr on their countdown of the best players. Fans will just have to wait to find out.