Vikings' top draft pick Barr is playing catch-up

Anthony Barr is learning on the fly at minicamp.

 

Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr was for the most part stuck in Los Angeles over the past month. There aren’t many areas better to reside, but the Southern California native was ready to leave home, and couldn’t.

“I was real bored,” Barr said on Wednesday. “The longest four weeks, really. It was a good time for me to kind of decompress a little bit and get my mind right for this.”

And it didn’t take long for the Vikings to place the ninth overall pick in the NFL draft all around the front seven when he arrived for mandatory minicamp this week. The rookie has been used quite a bit in his return since an NFL rule restricted him from coming to the Twin Cities.

Barr was thrown into the shuffle at linebacker and used Wednesday at outside linebacker in both the base 4-3 and nickel defensive packages. The Vikings also incorporated Barr, listed at 6-5 and 255 pounds, with his hand in the dirt as a defensive end during pass rushing situations.

That is something Barr said he never was asked to do while playing linebacker for two seasons at UCLA after switching from running back. Barr was available for the team’s rookie minicamp in May but had to wait until he finished his finals to return with the team because of an NFL policy for rookies who haven’t graduated and haven’t finished their semester or quarter.

UCLA’s spring quarter concluded June 13, the final day of the Vikings’ organized team activities session.

“There’s a little bit of a learning curve missing OTAs, but it kind of is what it is,” Barr said. “I’ve just got to catch up and continue to watch film and continue to get better.”

Barr didn’t enjoy being away from the team during OTAs, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t working. Linebackers coach Adam Zimmer flew to California multiple times to meet with Barr and gave him individual drills to practice during the layoff. The rookie also spent time watching film with the coaching staff via video chat.

In a three-point stance for the first time Tuesday, Barr jumped out of the stance and did a spin move toward a guard. On Wednesday, he used an effective swim move to get around an offensive tackle.

“Right now we’re kind of just working at different skill sets, different positions and keep on fitting in where his skill sets go,” defensive coordinator George Edwards said. “So, systematically, we are flexible enough that we can take his skill set and put him in positions where hopefully it helps us, most advantageous, whether rushing the passer, whether it’s dropping in coverage.”

Barr is the team’s tallest linebacker along with Audie Cole, and he is only four pounds lighter than defensive end Brian Robison, who is listed at 259. Moreover, Barr’s 4.66-second 40-yard dash time at the NFL combine gives the Vikings plenty of ways to use him. Barr’s size, speed and versatility are reasons why the Vikings drafted him.

Even as the Vikings exhausted every possible option in the collective bargaining agreement to get Barr up to speed, he still is behind. Barr’s role will evolve as he continues to understand the defense, which Edwards said hasn’t been a problem so far.

Barr has mixed up some of the play-call names during the two minicamp practices so far, but Edwards was impressed with the way the rookie has processed some of the defensive installations so far.

“I knew I was going to make mistakes,” Barr said. “I just had to make sure I did those at full speed. Not many nerves, just a lot of excitement, and I’m just happy to be here.”

In other words, he’s a long way from being bored.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Detroit 69 FINAL
Philadelphia 89
Portland 94 FINAL
Cleveland 99
Sacramento 102 FINAL
Toronto 119
Boston 98 FINAL
Minnesota 110
Dallas 94 FINAL
Houston 99
Denver 93 FINAL
New Orleans 85
Brooklyn 102 FINAL
Atlanta 113
Oklahoma City 92 FINAL
New York 100
Charlotte 86 FINAL
San Antonio 95
LA Clippers 94 FINAL
Utah 89
Washington 98 FINAL
Phoenix 106
Toronto 1 FINAL(SO)
New Jersey 2
Pittsburgh 0 FINAL
Washington 4
Chicago 3 FINAL
Los Angeles 4
Temple 86 FINAL
UCF 62
Winthrop 75 FINAL
Coastal Carolina 68
Lafayette 59 FINAL
Colgate 54
Northeastern 60 FINAL
Drexel 65
Wake Forest 76 FINAL
Florida State 82
Rhode Island 64 FINAL
Fordham 63
Delaware 82 FINAL
James Madison 88
South Carolina 58 FINAL
LSU 64
New Hampshire 63 FINAL
Maine 58
Seton Hall 80 FINAL
Marquette 70
Binghamton 68 FINAL
UMBC 56
American Univ 54 FINAL
Navy 64
Elon 65 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 82
Wright State 76 FINAL
Oakland 84
Minnesota 58 FINAL
Penn State 63
Duquesne 55 FINAL
Richmond 86
SMU 63 FINAL
South Florida 52
Hartford 66 FINAL
Stony Brook 72
Albany 47 FINAL
Vermont 44
Hofstra 79 FINAL
William & Mary 100
UNC-Asheville 74 FINAL
Longwood 64
Radford 84 FINAL
Char Southern 77
Holy Cross 0 Postponed
Loyola-Maryland 0
Duke 73 FINAL
Notre Dame 77
Texas Tech 36 FINAL
Oklahoma 81
Oregon State 55 FINAL
Arizona State 73
Morehead State 82 FINAL
Austin Peay 69
Drake 69 FINAL
Bradley 57
Lehigh 62 FINAL
Bucknell 68
Rice 48 FINAL
Houston 59
Missouri State 57 FINAL
Illinois State 67
Loyola-Chicago 47 FINAL
Wichita State 58
Nebraska Omaha 64 FINAL
South Dakota St 86
Northern Iowa 59 FINAL
Southern Ill 52
Louisville 81 FINAL
Boston College 72
St Johns 74 FINAL
Creighton 77
East Carolina 58 FINAL
Memphis 70
Georgia Tech 70 FINAL
Miami-Florida 50
Miss State 73 FINAL
Ole Miss 79
Clemson 68 FINAL
NC State 57
Indiana 67 FINAL
Purdue 83
Kansas 64 FINAL
TCU 61
Oregon 56 FINAL
Arizona 90
Air Force 66 FINAL
San Jose St 52
Stanford 84 FINAL
Washington 74
Rider 56 FINAL
Siena 49
Dayton 76 FINAL
Richmond 62
Eastern Kentucky 53 FINAL
Jacksonville St 73
Saint Josephs 0 Postponed
Saint Louis 0
UMBC 71 FINAL
Binghamton 55
Akron 60 FINAL
Ohio U 72
Ball State 72 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 55
Memphis 56 FINAL
Cincinnati 44
East Carolina 32 FINAL
(2) Connecticut 87
Murray State 59 FINAL
Eastern Illinois 75
Kent State 63 FINAL
Central Michigan 65
UT Martin 64 FINAL
Tennessee St 58
Eastern Michigan 56 FINAL
Western Mich 83
Bucknell 61 FINAL
Lehigh 76
Indiana 57 FINAL
Michigan State 72
Colgate 56 FINAL
Lafayette 58
Fordham 66 FINAL
Davidson 45
Duquesne 76 FINAL
St Bonaventure 64
George Mason 66 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 70
Detroit 59 FINAL
Youngstown St 58
Army 0 Postponed
Boston U 0
Loyola-Maryland 0 Postponed
Holy Cross 0
SMU 58 FINAL
Tulsa 74
Oklahoma St 54 FINAL
Kansas State 52
West Virginia 57 FINAL
Texas Tech 73
Denver 56 FINAL
South Dakota 82
Northwestern St 46 FINAL
Central Arkansas 63
Austin Peay 67 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 87
Kansas 61 FINAL
Iowa State 56
Bowling Green 50 FINAL
Northern Ill 67
Penn State 64 FINAL
Minnesota 75
San Jose St 80 FINAL
Air Force 83
Boise State 82 FINAL
Colorado State 83
Utah State 51 FINAL
Wyoming 86
San Diego State 50 FINAL
Fresno State 57
Nevada 52 FINAL
UNLV 75

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: What chance does the Wild have of making the playoffs?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close