Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr said he expects to return Sunday night against the Packers after missing the past three games because of a lingering hamstring injury. It’s the longest Barr has been sidelined since the end of his 2014 rookie season, when he missed four games.
“Yeah, I’ll play this week,” Barr said Monday after the Vikings’ 25-20 loss in Chicago.
Barr, who had started 44 games in a row before the injury, hurt his hamstring in the Oct. 21 road victory over the Jets. He was listed as questionable for the Chicago game after returning to practice last week, but said he was mindful of being a liability against the Bears when not fully healthy.
“[Hamstrings] can linger, and it can pop up on you if you don’t take care of it the right way,” Barr said. “We did a good job treating it, getting it right where it needs to be and feeling confident heading into this week.”
Barr is in the final year of his rookie contract with the Vikings. He was asked if his pending free agency factored into his time line to return.
“I play for the guys in this locker room,” Barr said. “I owe it to them to be on the field and play at a high level when I’m able to. I’m not worried about contract stuff.”
Barr has been credited with 29 tackles (three for a loss), two pass deflections and a forced fumble in seven games this season.
Coach Mike Zimmer regularly meets with Vikings team captains, and he said Monday he had asked some players — without naming whom — whether they feel teammates have “stopped listening” to him.
The Vikings sit at 5-4-1 after losing two of their past three games.
“I’ve asked several players if [others] have quit listening,” Zimmer said. “They said no.”
Vikings tight end David Morgan said Monday he is “feeling good” after resting his injured knee the past two weeks.
Morgan said he is approaching this week “day by day” with the injury suffered Nov. 4 against the Lions. The Vikings especially missed Morgan, the team’s best blocking tight end, against the stout Bears defensive front.
“It’ll be fun to get out there and battle with those guys [in Week 17 vs. the Bears],” Morgan said. “That was a game I really wanted to be a part of. I’ll be looking forward to it down the road.”
Focus on finishing
The Vikings defense will focus on “finishing” tackles on Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers this week after Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky ran for four first downs.
Defensive end Stephen Weatherly said the Vikings defense whiffed on too many arm-tackle attempts on Trubisky, who gained 43 yards on 10 runs.
“It was really annoying,” Weatherly said. “One thing we’re going to have to stress moving forward, because we’ve got another mobile quarterback this upcoming week, is finishing when you get to the point of contact.”
Compton still injured
Left guard Tom Compton bowed out of Sunday night’s loss in the second half because his sprained left knee was still bothering him. Compton was candid on how his knee felt Monday after he was replaced by Danny Isidora in the fourth quarter.
“Not too great,” Compton said. “Obviously losing, things hurt a little bit more. Hopefully with a week of prep, it’ll be good to go.”