A lot has changed for the Minnesota Vikings since the end of the 2021 season. A new regime change came with a new agenda. One that includes filling holes on the depth chart and retooling the roster with the hope of a playoff campaign in 2022. Despite the NFL Draft being less than a week away, who might be left on the free agent market?
Why, none other than long-time Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr, who is a free agent this off-season. Considering the lack of salary cap available for the Vikings, it appeared as if retaining Barr was not doable. Yet, Barr remains unsigned for the upcoming season. That being said, might Barr and the Vikings end up reuniting before the 2022 season kicks off?
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Could Anthony Barr Return to the Minnesota Vikings in 2022?
Why Barr Could Return
When healthy, Barr has been a very serviceable player, with four Pro Bowl appearances in eight years. Recent health has kept Barr off the field more than anyone would like. But if one-hundred percent, Barr is a more than serviceable starter still.
In his career, Barr has amassed 495 tackles, eight forced fumbles, seven recoveries, and five interceptions in 98 regular-season games. Even as a pass rusher, Barr has contributed 44 quarterback hits and 17.5 sacks. This past season, injuries held Barr to just 11 total games. Nonetheless, he had a bounce-back year with 72 tackles, six quarterback hits, and three interceptions.
If the Vikings want to continue to deepen their linebacker corps, Barr is the perfect plan B. A lot will hinge on the draft and more pressing needs. At the end of the day, Barr potentially taking a hometown discount to return to Minnesota in an adjusted role in 2022 could be on the table.
Why Barr Wouldn’t Return
Even if Barr would want to return to Minnesota, it’s not very likely that the veteran linebacker ultimately returns in purple and gold in the new year. After a recent stretch of disappointing and injury-filled seasons the last couple of years, the Vikings are probably looking to finally part ways with the 30-year-old and shift focus to other players.
The biggest reason the Vikings, as well as other teams, haven’t signed Barr already is the question marks surrounding his health, something that has headlined his career as of late. He might not be worth the risk of signing to only have him play in just a portion of the season once again.
The Vikings have also already signed a few linebackers to join Eric Kendricks and company in the middle of the defense, notably former Green Bay Packers linebacker and captain Za’Darius Smith and former Arizona Cardinals linebacker and captain Jordan Hicks. The addition of those two veteran players could be enough to convince Minnesota it’s time to move on from Barr.
Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah also hinted recently that a reunion with Barr would be “a tougher situation to navigate,” adding “those decisions are tough, but ultimately sometimes they have to be made.”
Minnesota and its fans had high hopes for Barr when he re-signed with the organization as a free agent in 2019, but injuries have been the biggest storyline for the linebacker as of late and a limited role to go along with a potential return of Barr could spell the end of his time with the Vikings once and for all.
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