Vikings linebacker Barr ‘ready to rock’ after missing time
By Chris Tomasson St. Paul Pioneer Press MINNEAPOLIS -- Not that Anthony Barr isn't pretty manly now, but Vikings coach Mike Zimmer only can imagine what one day he could be like. Barr, the second-year Minnesota linebacker, had a strong rookie se...
By Chris Tomasson
St. Paul Pioneer Press
MINNEAPOLIS - Not that Anthony Barr isn’t pretty manly now, but Vikings coach Mike Zimmer only can imagine what one day he could be like.
Barr, the second-year Minnesota linebacker, had a strong rookie season that was cut short after 12 games when he needed surgery on his left knee. The injury cost Barr valuable time in spring drills and he also missed some time in training camp.
Flash back to 2014 after the Vikings had taken Barr with the No. 9 pick in the draft out of UCLA. He missed much of spring drills because classes had not ended at his school.
“I just think some of the time that he’s missed in the offseasons in the weight room and some of those things,’’ Zimmer said. “Once those things settle down and he’s got a chance to get into that, he’s got a chance to be a real man.’’
For now, Barr is preparing to start in today’s opener at San Francisco. He said he’s fully healthy and insists that missing time, including getting into just two preseason games, hasn’t set him back at all.
“I’m ready to rock,’’ said Barr, who grew up in Southern California and expects plenty of friends and family members at the opener. “I’m looking forward to it. Season opener. Monday Night Football. It doesn’t get much bigger. Mentally and physically, I feel great.’’
In order to make up for missed time, Barr said he has spent many hours at home lately going over material on his iPod. He doesn’t care if there were any TV shows he missed.
“I don’t watch TV much,’’ Barr said.
Instead, Barr is trying to work as much as he can on his craft. He has set a number of goals for his second season, but he prefers to keep those private.
“He wants to see himself definitely as a Pro Bowl-type player, but he’s a humble guy,’’ said running back Jerick McKinnon, also taken by the Vikings in the 2014 draft. “He’s so good at (pass) rushing with that speed and with his physical attributes, so I think the success or the potential success he is going to have is going to lean on his shoulders. He’s going to be as good as he wants to be.’’
Barr was pretty good as a rookie, being ranked eighth by Pro Football Focus among outside linebackers in a 4-3 scheme. The thinking from Zimmer, though, is Barr is merely scratching the surface in the NFL.
The only players on the injury report for today’s game are all probable. They are tight ends Chase Ford (shoulder) and MyCole Pruitt (ankle), fullback Zach Line (knee) and defensive tackle Shamar Stephen (knee). ... Zimmer was generally pleased with the preseason of starting strong safety Robert Blanton, but said he has a tendency to try to do too much. “He’s always wanting to make plays and sometimes he needs to just make the safe play,’’ Zimmer said. ... Zimmer said “good genes” and taking “care of his body” are keys to Terence Newman, the NFL’s oldest cornerback at 37, maintaining his speed.
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