By the time Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr checked his phone at halftime of Sunday’s 23-10 win over the Packers, the reaction had already been piling up on his digital doorstep.
About “3,000 notifications” Barr figured he had at that time, just an hour or so after he levied the hit that led to Aaron Rodgers’ broken collarbone.
“Mostly not too kind words,” Barr said Friday, speaking to reporters for the first time after he cleared the concussion protocol. “But like I said, I get it. I’d be upset too if one of my quarterbacks got hurt, which they have.”
Barr, who will play Sunday versus the Ravens, wanted to make something clear:
“By no means was I trying to injure or take out Aaron Rodgers,” Barr said. “He’s one of, if not the best, player in this league. I’m not a dirty player. We don’t preach that around here.”
A handful of Packers players voiced their displeasure of Barr’s hit on Rodgers, which was not flagged in Sunday’s game and not fined by the NFL’s league office. Packers coach Mike McCarthy called Barr’s hit “totally unnecessary” and “to pin him to the ground like that, I felt it was an illegal act.”
Barr has seen the screenshots taken of Rodgers releasing the ball before he was hit and said “less than a quarter of a second after that I was tackling him. That’s just football. It happens. It’s unfortunate.”
Barr added he wouldn’t do anything differently while saying he understands the Packers’ reaction.
“I think I hit Jameis [Winston] similar earlier in the season,” Barr said. “And nobody mentioned it. It’s a dirty play in some people’s eyes because of the injury. I think if [Rodgers] gets up, we’re not having this conversation. Again, I wish him a speedy recovery.”
Diggs to miss second game
Receiver Stefon Diggs will be sidelined for a second game Sunday against the Ravens. The Vikings receiver was unable to practice this week due to a strained groin, which he suffered in the Oct. 9 win in Chicago. Diggs has not practiced since.
The Vikings believe quarterback Sam Bradford (knee) will be able to play again this season, but he and left guard Nick Easton (calf) were ruled out for Sunday, according to head coach Mike Zimmer. Bradford has been seeing specialists regarding the issues in his knee joint and was not seen at Vikings practice this week.
Left tackle Riley Reiff is now listed questionable to play Sunday due to an ankle injury that limited him in Friday’s practice. Receiver Michael Floyd (hamstring), cornerback Mackensie Alexander (hip) and cornerback Tramaine Brock (hamstring) are also listed as questionable to play against the Ravens.
Keenum to start
Quarterback Case Keenum will get his fifth start for the Vikings on Sunday. The veteran journeyman has led the offense to a 2-2 record as starter, and really 3-2 considering his cleanup work in Chicago.
“He has come in and helped us win three ball games,” coordinator Pat Shurmur said. “Whether you thought of him as a second or third quarterback that is the reality of it. Along the way, he’s been pretty emotional about his preparation and helping us win football games.”