Vikings’ Barr is finally back; knee injury caused “drop days”

EAGAN, Minnesota (AP) – Anthony Barr has been cleared to join the Minnesota Vikings, putting the four-time Pro Bowl linebacker back into action after an 18-game absence and giving a lagging defense a valuable asset.

Barr was sidelined by a hesitant knee early in training camp. His mind suffered along with his body.

“It was difficult. Mental health is a real thing, ”Barr said. “I had a hard time, but luckily I have a great support system with my family and friends. I think I realize that there is a lot more to life than football. It’s been my life since I was 9, so not participating was difficult. I promise you no one wants to play more than me. That’s all I want to do. So I’m just happy to be at a point where I can finally do it again.

What made the wait more excruciating was the fact that he tore a pectoral muscle in Game 2 of last season and hasn’t been on the field since that game in Indianapolis. on September 20, 2020. Nonetheless, Barr was not so impatient with the process that he was going to succumb to any pressure – from himself or otherwise – to get through the pain in a way that could put him in danger of one. setback. He intended to express his discomfort with the knee to coaches and athletic training staff.

“I’m at the point in my career where I’m comfortable being honest with myself. What’s the use of lying when I know I’m not ready? Yeah, it sucks that I can’t be there and I would love to help, but I don’t think I would do anything that would make us better. I would probably be a handicap there, ”said Barr, who reworked his contract earlier this year to give the Vikings some pay cap relief and will now become an independent agent in the spring.

Barr declined to discuss his specific condition, but his comments and those of trainer Mike Zimmer indicated that it was a chronic problem involving discomfort in the coming and going joint. Nick Vigil has filled the role of Barr every time on the strong side and will likely return to the position on the weak side to make room for Barr, but maybe not every snap just yet.

“When there’s a new toy out there, a good player, you want to ride it until the wheels fall off,” defensive coordinator Andre Patterson said. “But we can’t do that. We have to make sure we are smart with him.

Barr was a full participant in training on Wednesday, a sign as sure as that of his return. The Vikings are 25th in the NFL in yards allowed – although 11th in points allowed – and could use the boost.

“I really owe this to my teammates more than anyone. They crushed. They worked, ”Barr said. “I haven’t been able to play with them in a while, so that’s my biggest motivation, coming back with these guys.”

There are several question marks surrounding Barr this week, with the Vikings (1-3) in dire need of a Sunday win over Detroit.

Vigil did not train on Wednesday due to an ankle injury. Nor did defensive tackle Michael Pierce, who aggravated an elbow injury in the previous game. Cornerbacks Cameron Dantzler and Harrison Hand have been placed on the COVID-19 reserve list. Dantzler said on Twitter he was vaccinated and should be cleared soon.

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