In his second year, Minnesota Vikings' linebacker Anthony Barr is having the kind of season that fans thought he could after his strong rookie season. He's making big plays both in the backfield and well down the field. . .
Even more miraculously, he's doing it all with one good hand.
Barr broke his hand back in Week 8 against the St. Louis Rams. The injury got so bad that, following the Vikings' victory over the Oakland Raiders, Barr needed fellow linebacker Chad Greenway to help him get dressed and open doors. But Barr has been out there every week, acting as one of the centerpieces of the Vikings' second-ranked scoring defense. So far this season, he has 2.5 sacks, three forced fumbles (including a game-sealer against the Falcons on Sunday), five passes defended and an interception to go with 61 tackles. On Sunday in Atlanta, he became the first Viking to collect eight tackles, two forced fumbles, and a sack in the same game since Chris Doleman accomplished the feat in 1992.
On a defense with its share of great players, Barr might have the most potential out of all of them. He has freakish speed for a player of his size, and his versatility gives him the ability to play coverage, rush the passer, or do whatever else Mike Zimmer and George Edwards might want him to do. That's pretty impressive for a guy that's only in his fourth season of playing on the defensive side of the ball. . .he was recruited by UCLA as a running back and spent his first two college seasons on offense.
Anthony Barr, even with one good hand, has proven to be a top-level defender in the National Football League. Fortunately for him. . .and unfortunately for the rest of the National Football League. . .he's getting healthy again.