Linebacker Anthony Barr to Return and Could Provide Minnesota Vikings Defense a Boost

As the Minnesota Vikings try to get back on track following a 1-3 start to the 2021 NFL season, including three close losses in winnable games, they also hope to get a key piece to their defense back on the field as well. He has not suited up through the first four games of the season, but Minnesota is hoping for the return of veteran linebacker Anthony Barr as the Vikings take on the Detroit Lions in Week 5. Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said this week that Barr should make his season debut on Sunday, the first time in 385 days that he would be able to take the field to anchor the middle of Minnesota’s defense.

Minnesota Vikings Defense Could Get a Boost With Return of Linebacker Anthony Barr

Barr missed some of the 2020 season due to injury, and injuries have caused him to miss the Vikings first four games this season. But this week, he should return for the purple and gold, which is great news for a team looking for a spark.

Struggling To Stay On the Field

Injuries have been a big issue over the last two seasons for Barr, who is entering his eighth season in the NFL with the Vikings. The linebacker appeared in just two games in 2020 during an injury-filled season, with those hurdles carrying into this season as he has been limited with a knee injury since the start of the preseason.

But for the first time since Week 2 of the 2020 campaign, Barr is set to return to the field and be the heart of Minnesota’s defense. And it sounds like he is more than ready to get back to it and help the Vikings.

“Excited to get back out there and help the team,” Barr said this week, according to the team website. “There will be a lot of emotions, but at the end of the day, just got to do my job and help the team win.”

Barr will provide a nice lift and addition to the defense that could be the difference in shutting down opposing offenses moving forward.

“Barr has been in the system for a long, long time, and there’s certain things we can do with him that we haven’t been able to do in these first four ballgames,” Zimmer said, according to the team website. “He’s feeling better every single day.”

The Anchor of the Defense

Over the course of his career, which includes 87 games over seven years, Barr has compiled career totals of 423 combined tackles, 297 solo tackles, 15 sacks, eight forced fumbles, five fumble recoveries, two interceptions, one defensive touchdown, and one safety for Minnesota. To date, Barr’s best season came during the 2019 season where he appeared in 14 of the 16 regular season contests. During that year, Barr finished with a career-best 79 tackles, 54 solo tackles, six tackles for loss, seven quarterback hits, 1.5 sacks, one fumble recovery, and one interception en route to his fourth straight Pro Bowl selection.

Although they have improved defensively from what they were able to showcase in 2020, the Vikings defense has struggled a bit to start the new year. They are allowing opposing offenses to average 389 total yards per game which ranks as the eighth-most in the NFL. Still, Minnesota’s defense has put the team in a position to win every game it has lost, including a dominant performance in Week 4.

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The Vikings are looking to get a few different key players back healthy and on the field this season after a slow start to the year. Finally getting the veteran linebacker Barr back anchoring the defense in Week 5 on Sunday will be a nice step in the right direction.

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