Anthony Barr has been up and down over the course of his career with the Minnesota Vikings, but should he be considered a one-year wonder?
Entering his seventh season in the NFL. Anthony Barr was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in 2014 to ease the transition into a Mike Zimmer defense. Now, he and Eric Kendricks are a strong duo at linebacker who can do almost anything asked of them.
Over the course of his six years in purple and gold, Barr has started all 85 of his games played and accumulated solid statistics. He has racked up 417 combined tackles, defended 26 passes, accumulated 15 sacks, forced eight fumbles, recovered five fumbles, intercepted two passes, and scored one defensive touchdown.
It was a bit surprising to see Barr included in an article by Pro Football Focus where they assembled the best single-season outlier seasons since 2006 on what they called their One-Year Wonder Team.
Thankfully, there was some reasoning given as to why the Vikings linebacker was one of the linebackers on this team. Here is what
"“Like Robert Quinn, Barr has had some decent seasons, but there is only one year that justifies the five-year, $67.5 million contract he’s currently playing on. That was 2015 — Barr’s second season in the NFL — when he joined Luke Kuechly as the only two linebackers in the league to record an overall grade of 90.0.”"
2015 was Barr’s second season in the league. Oddly, that year doesn’t have the versatile linebacker’s career-high numbers in any statistic on Pro Sports Reference. However, he did tie for the most quarterback hits during that campaign.
Pff continued to explain Barr’s situation in 2015:
"“He was an effective pass rusher, totaling 23 pressures on just 92 pass-rushing snaps. But most importantly, he played at a high level in coverage (90.0 coverage grade). In the four years since that season, Barr hasn’t recorded a coverage grade of 60.0.”"
Fans of the Minnesota Vikings will understand this metric as there were numerous times over the last few seasons where Anthony Barr dropped back into coverage and was successfully targeted by the opposing quarterback. Mike Zimmer likely felt comfortable allowing him to drop back thanks to a strong push from the defensive line.
One amusing note is that Pro Sports Reference assigns an approximate value to each season for a player on their website. In 2015, Barr earned a value of 10. However, for his 2016 season, he received a value of 11.
The topic of Anthony Barr’s value to the Minnesota Vikings is one that likely will likely divide the fan base. However, after watching him play for the team for six years, it’s hard to imagine the purple and gold defense without him.