4 best Minnesota Vikings first-round picks of the last decade

(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) Harrison Smith
(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) Harrison Smith /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) Anthony Barr /

Anthony Barr – LB (2014)

The Vikings moved back one spot in the 2014 NFL Draft and surprised many by taking Anthony Barr out of UCLA.

Barr was seen as a potential fit in a 3-4 front and not in Minnesota’s 4-3 alignment. He also ran slower than many expected at the Combine and his stock seemed like it was trending downward as the draft approached.

Nevertheless, the Vikings took him at pick No. 9 and they clearly knew what they were getting as he has been well worth the top 10 selection. During his time with Minnesota, he has racked up 417 tackles (36 for a loss) and 15 sacks. He’s been a solid fixture on the Vikings defense for the last six seasons and he even earned himself a second contract with the team.

Barr has been very good in his career, but he does tend to struggle in pass coverage at times. He also could have better pass-rushing numbers, but he really isn’t asked to blitz that often.

Barr is just a solid presence in Minnesota’s front seven and a guy who rarely misses a tackle. Last year, he had a missed tackle rate of only 2.5 percent, which is very good.

The way he’s used in Mike Zimmer’s system, Barr will never have numbers like Vikings middle linebacker Eric Kendricks. But he’s been a leader on the team and a reliable part of Minnesota’s defense.