Anthony Barr is an outside linebacker who has just 13.5 sacks in his five-year career. So why is he worth the big new contract the Vikings gave him?
Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer says most people don’t understand how big an impact Barr makes because of the lengths that other teams go to to keep Barr from beating them.
“I know a lot of laymen don’t understand this, but Anthony is a guy that every team that we play game plans for,” Zimmer said. “There’s not one team – there might have been one team last year that didn’t, and we got 10 sacks. They all game plan for him.”
Zimmer appeared to be referring to the Dolphins as the team that didn’t game plan for Barr. In that game the Vikings got nine (not 10) sacks, and Barr was a huge problem for the Dolphins’ pass protection.
“A lot of that is him sacrificing himself for being able to have other guys free on rushes and blitzes and things like that. That’s why he’s such an unselfish guy,” Zimmer said. “We understand that no team that we play is ever going to say, ‘We’re not going to worry about Anthony Barr.’ That’s part of it, and sometimes we do it anyway. That’s just part of it. We’re always going to try and scheme the best way to win on that particular Sunday.”
Zimmer thinks opposing offenses are going to continue to struggle against Barr, even if his sack numbers don’t show it.