Anthony Barr not only will remain in Minnesota this year, but he also will remain at the position he has played throughout his NFL career.
Via Sid Hartman of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Barr will not be moving from linebacker to defensive end.
“He’ll be a linebacker,” coach Mike Zimmer told Hartman. “We’re doing a few different things defensively so you’ll get a chance to see how it looks, but we’re going to make a few changes with some of the things schematically just from our offseason study.”
Generally speaking, Zimmer feels very good about the second line of Minnesota’s defense.
“[Eric] Kendricks is a good player, Barr is a good player, [Ben] Gedeon is a good player,” Zimmer said. “We drafted the kid from USC [Cameron Smith] and so far he looks good, we kind of like him. We have Devonte Downs, who was basically redshirted last year so we’ll see how he is. Eric Wilson played a lot last year. I think we’ll be OK.”
The defense was better than OK last year, but the team’s overall performance wasn’t good enough to make it to the playoffs. That has created a greater sense of urgency on both sides of the ball in 2019.
“Just having a disappointing end to last year, I think guys are more on point and looking forward to practicing at a good pace,” Barr told Hartman.
They’ll hope to be playing at a better pace, and the challenge will be to get off to a great start with a schedule that is favorable in that it doesn’t require the not-ready-for-prime-time-in-2018 Vikings to play in prime time in 2019 until Week Eight. By then, the Vikings and everyone else will have an idea regarding whether Minnesota will perform more like the team did in 2017.