Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater might be a long shot for the Vikings starting lineup to open the season, but the team’s other first-round pick looks like a sure bet to be on the field.
Linebacker Anthony Barr had a sack and a forced fumble against the Cardinals last Saturday night to go with the half-sack he had in the team’s preseason opener. He’s also proven to be a versatile piece who can play standing up and with his hand on the ground in pass rushing situations, which has caught the eye of defensive end Brian Robison. Robison has been impressed by Barr’s athleticism and work ethic, which leads him to believe that he can be “a force to be reckoned with” as a pass rusher if he masters the necessary techniques.
“He can give us that versatility on defense to where we can all kind of move around and have different parts of the defense and allow us to keep offenses offbeat,” Robison said, via the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “[Offenses] can’t key in on one guy. If they have one guy they need to take care of, they can’t because they don’t know where he’s going to be. So whether it’s myself, [right end] Everson [Griffen] or Barr, you are not going to know where those rushers are coming from. You might be on the right side one time, you might be on the left side one time, you might be inside one time. You might be blitzing from the back end one time. You just never know where you’re going to be.”
Head coach Mike Zimmer has a long history of building imposing defenses and Barr’s versatility will likely play a big part in his attempt to put another one together in Minnesota.