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You Make the Call: Anthony Barr, Sheldon Richardson, or neither

Because the Vikings probably can’t have both

Miami Dolphins v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images

In the National Football League, the new league year will get underway on 13 March. That’s just a shade over six weeks from now, and with the start of the new league year comes the start of free agency. While it doesn’t appear that the Minnesota Vikings are going to have the ability to be a huge player in the free agent market this year, they’re going to have some decisions to make before then.

When you look at a list of all the Vikings free agents going into the 2019 league year, there are two names on the Unrestricted Free Agent list that obviously stand out. Those are linebacker Anthony Barr and defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson. Both of those players, whether they hit the open market or not, are likely going to command big money from their next employer. According to the good folks from Over the Cap, the Vikings have the third-lowest available cap space in the NFL as things stand right now.

While the Vikings will, undoubtedly, make several moves between now and then to significantly increase that number, it stands to reason that they’re not going to be able to bring back both Barr and Richardson if they want to focus on some of the other positions of need. So, that’s the question we want to ask:

If you could only bring back one of those two players in 2019, which one would it be: Anthony Barr or Sheldon Richardson?

A compelling case could be made for both players. After getting off to a rough start to his 2019 season, Barr played some pretty solid football down the stretch. He’s getting ready to play in his fourth Pro Bowl in five seasons as a Viking, and when he’s playing well he’s capable of doing great things, particularly when it comes to running down screens and things of that nature.

On the other hand, Richardson came to the Vikings on a one-year “prove it” contract this offseason, and he provided a solid complement to Linval Joseph in the middle of the Vikings’ defensive line. We know the value that Mike Zimmer places on his front four being able to get pressure in order to make his defensive scheme work, and Richardson is very good in that regard.

There could be another option as well, depending on how the Vikings feel about their cap situation and their belief in the players they already have on the roster (and any that they might draft), and that would be a scenario where both Richardson and Barr are allowed to walk away. Given the level of compensation that both of those players would likely receive on the open market, they could fetch some high-level Compensatory picks for the Vikings in the 2020 Draft.

(Unless their new team cuts them halfway through the season like those big, stupid jerkfaces from Arizona did with Sam Bradford.*)

The downside to this, obviously, is that rather than having to replace just one starter on defense, you now have two pretty significant holes on that side of the ball and a lot of questions surrounding how you fill them. Then again, under the Mike Zimmer regiem, developing players on defense hasn’t been much of a problem.

So, what are your thoughts on this one, folks? Assuming, probably correctly, that you can’t have both players.


Put on your Rick Spielman pants (after your shoes, natch): If you can only bring back one, do you bring back. . .

This poll is closed

  • 22%
    Anthony Barr
    (840 votes)
  • 44%
    Sheldon Richardson
    (1676 votes)
  • 33%
    Neither (let them both walk)
    (1271 votes)
3787 votes total Vote Now

* - The Arizona Cardinals are not, to the best of our knowledge, actually big, stupid jerkfaces. But the Bradford release was a big, stupid jerkface move.