A new coaching regime, a new stadium, Teddy Bridgewater and the Chris Kluwe investigation have all dominated the Minnesota Vikings headlines this summer, but one player who has kept a low profile thus far is No. 1 draft pick Anthony Barr. You can call him the team’s best kept secret.
The Vikings surprisingly selected Barr with the ninth overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft and plan on him playing the strong-side linebacker position and getting after the quarterback. Barr has only played on the defensive side of the ball since 2012, but under head coach Mike Zimmer, Barr should have no problem adjusting.
Part of the reason Barr has flown under the radar is because he was literally missing action. He wasn’t able to participate in OTAs until he finished school at UCLA. Although Barr was picked higher than Bridgewater, the rookie quarterback has garnered much more attention due to his impressive play and his respective position. In fact, Bridgewater is entrenched in a position battle and fighting to be the starting quarterback. Barr has his starting position all but locked up.
Barr’s versatility, athleticism and toughness fits right into the identity of a Zimmer defense. He should be able to contribute right away with his pass-rushing ability, but still needs to work on his coverage skills.
With training camp finally underway and preseason right around the corner, all eyes will certainly be on the Vikings’ No. 1 pick to see how he is progressing.
If Barr ends up being the player Rick Spielman and the Vikings hope they drafted, he won’t be flying under the radar for much longer.