Anthony Barr said Wednesday he’s done “all I can do to prove my worth” as he enters his contract season with the Vikings. Still, the fifth-year linebacker is trying to do more.
Barr, 26, has been spending a portion of every practice this spring with the Vikings defensive linemen. He’s refining his pass-rushing maneuvers and the many nuances involved with beating an offensive lineman to get to the quarterback.
“I hadn’t really worked on it my first four years here,” said Barr, who has 10.5 sacks in four NFL seasons. “Now having the time to work on it, it’s beneficial. I’ve still got a long way to go. It’s not as easy as it looks watching Everson [Griffen] do it.”
On Wednesday, Barr joined the Vikings defensive ends for a drill focused on bending around the edge. He later hopped in with linemen for a session focused on hand fighting. Barr did so while linebackers walked through coverages and assignments that have become second nature to him.
“There are certain things I feel like I understand now, being here five years,” Barr said. “Stuff I’ve done a thousand times now, where I feel they trust me to go do some other stuff. Being with the D-line for five to 10 minutes a day may not seem like a lot, but it adds up.”
The Vikings could get more out of Barr as a pass rusher, possibly even moving him around the defense to create matchup problems.
“Learning how to rush the passer from the end spot is going to help him when he’s coming from depth,” defensive end Brian Robison said. “I think it just adds another element to our defense that we can keep building on.”
Holmes nursing broken hand
Rookie Jalyn Holmes will have some catching up to do next month, but he expects to be fully healthy for training camp.
Holmes, the fourth-round pick from Ohio State, will have missed the final three weeks of the Vikings’ offseason program because of a broken right hand, coach Mike Zimmer said on KFAN.
Holmes told the Star Tribune he will “definitely” be ready for camp. That’s critical as he learns a new position, transitioning from Buckeyes defensive end to Vikings defensive tackle.
Cousins’ red-zone lessons
Kirk Cousins traded touchdowns and interceptions with the Vikings defense during a couple red-zone drills Wednesday. Cousins first threw scores to Stefon Diggs and Kyle Rudolph, before safety Jayron Kearse and Barr came away with interceptions in the next session.
Cousins said “the beauty of [organized team activities]” is he can take those chances and learn from them.
“The first one [picked by Kearse], couldn’t get all the way through the throw so the ball died on me,” Cousins said. “The second one, I tested it a little bit. Trying to see what I could get away with, and I learned pretty quickly I can’t get away with that throw.”
Only electronic tickets
The Vikings will accept only electronic tickets starting this fall.
Executive communications director Jeff Anderson said the team is eliminating paper printouts for several reasons, chiefly to improve communications with fans before and during games.
Nearly 50 percent of Vikings tickets are transferred from the original owner to another fan before games, Anderson said, so electronic tickets will allow the team to know exactly who’s coming to games.
Brothers trying to move on
Linebacker Kentrell Brothers has answered to his head coach, his teammates and, on Wednesday, to reporters about a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing drug policy.
Brothers, who played 307 special teams snaps as a rookie last season, won’t be available to the Vikings until the start of Week 5. He explained his error as one made by more than a few inexperienced NFL players.
“When you take a supplement and don’t read what’s inside of it,” Brothers said.