With his contract up at the end of the season, linebacker Anthony Barr is facing mounting questions with still no answers as to where he’ll play in 2019.
“I really don’t know,” he said Wednesday. “I have no answer for that. I like it here, but a lot of things have to happen for that to come together.
“Like I’ve been saying, I’m not totally concerned about it. I know that’s approaching, but it will take care of itself when it gets here. But for now, I’m trying to get two more wins.”
Coach Mike Zimmer said earlier in the day that Barr, chosen Tuesday for his fourth Pro Bowl, has “played outstanding, really the last month or so, maybe a little longer.” Zimmer praised Barr’s “great physicality,” his “effort to the ball” and his improved pass rushing, which resulted in the first multi-sack game of Barr’s career on Sunday.
“He’s always been a good player,” Zimmer said. “I think he’s probably taking it to another level right now.”
Asked why that is, Barr mentioned the three games he missed because of a hamstring injury. He has started four games since, with three sacks and 14 tackles in the past two.
“I think it’s a lot of things,” he said. “When you’re injured, I think you get time to look yourself in the mirror and figure out things you maybe could do better and different ways you can help. And obviously I feel we’ve been playing to my strengths the last few weeks and going forward and doing stuff like that, rushing the passer.
“That’s something we worked on pretty tough all offseason. Just trying to see those things I guess come to fruition a little bit. It’s a positive for myself and for the team. We’re playing well, so hopefully we can keep that going.”
Griffen wins award
Defensive end Everson Griffen, who has played in all seven games since spending five weeks away from the team to deal with mental health issues, was named the Vikings’ 2018 Ed Block Courage Award winner in a vote by the players.
“That means I got a lot of support from my teammates my coaches and this organization,” he said Wednesday. “It’s a good feeling. It’s been a rough year for me but I’m still here. I’m still standing. And that’s the main thing. I’m here to fight. I’m a fighter. That’s all that matters.’’
Since 1984, the Ed Block Courage Awards annually honors one player from every NFL team who exemplifies commitment to the principles of sportsmanship and courage in overcoming great adversity.
Cousins cites missed block on pick-six
Kirk Cousins said there was nothing he could have done differently on the screen pass that led to his third pick-six of the season on Sunday. Dolphins safety Minkah Fitzpatrick was able to jump the pass when tight end Kyle Rudolph missed his block.
“I have always felt like on that play my job is to negotiate the end and then I was assuming that player that picked it was being blocked,” Cousins said. “So I’ve got to throw that with trust and anticipation. It felt like if that player was getting blocked, it’s a completion. It’s such a bang-bang play, you really can’t wait. If you wait to see if he is blocked, that play will never work.”
Cousins said the Vikings have run that play probably two dozen times with success this season.
“Because of the way [Fitzpatrick] played it, the way he guessed it, it put our blocking scheme in a little bit of confusion and then he made the play,” Cousins said. “Those plays happen from time to time.”
• Dalvin Cook was named NFC offensive player of the week after running for 136 yards against the Dolphins. He had rushing touchdowns of 13 and 21 yards. “It just shows how hard we are working around here to get an award like that,” said Cook, who also had a season-long 27-yard reception to help set up the first touchdown of the game. “Just really give it to the offensive line. They did a great job this week of opening the holes up and giving me lanes to run. That award goes to them.”
• Linebacker Eric Kendricks was held out of Wednesday’s practice because of a hamstring injury. Limited were receiver Chad Beebe (hamstring), tight end David Morgan (knee) and right guard Mike Remmers (lower back).