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The Anthony Barr Project

 Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer has a great track record of getting the most out of his linebackers. After the Vikings selected Anthony Barr with 9th pick in the 2014 NFL draft, Zimmer is certainly excited to get an opportunity to mold Barr into the dynamic playmaker he thinks he can be. Zimmer has never had a linebacker with the size, speed and athleticism of the 6-5 255 pound UCLA product. Barr has extreme potential but he is very raw and still learning the linebacker position. Barr was not used as an off-the-line backer nor was he asked to drop into coverage often. 

Anthony Barr had some monster hits and big plays last season, but for the most part he didn’t show up on tape as often as expected. Part of that is because he spent a good chunk of time lined up on the line of scrimmage, sometimes in a three point stance trying to bull rush offensive tackles. Barr is not a strength power player, he is more of a finesse speed guy that will benefit when moved to a more traditional linebacker position.

 Barr is a great edge rusher with outstanding closing speed… if he get a little crease to work with, look out. I see Zimmer using Barr’s edge rushing ablitiy in sub packages early on as a strong side linebacker much like how he used James Harrison last season in Cincinnati. Harrison was 35 and coming off back surgery but still play nearly 400 snaps in 10 games. Barr will certainly find his way onto the football field even if it means moving Greenway to WLB. Zimmer typically blitz more from the strongside than the weakside.

In the clips below notice where James Harrison is lined up. These schemes will maximize Barr’s potential early on as he develops more experience and skill as a traditional 4-3 drop back linebacker in the NFL.

 james harrison 4-3 base copyjames harrison copy

I love the #9 pick, and I can’t wait to watch Zimmer shape Barr into a beast in the NFL. The 31st ranked defense just got better.Barr1



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Carl Knowles

Carl Knowles (Contributor) is a former member of the Professional Bowler Association and an avid lifelong Vikings fan. When he is not bowling you can find him on websites and forum pages sharing his creative insight and enthusiasm for the Minnesota Vikings any chance he gets. Carl was a Phoenix Institute of Technology and Purdue University standout who currently enjoys the challenge of being a graphic director in the printing business. You can follow him on twitter @carlknowles_vt.

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  1. A project as the #9 pick? A failed trade to get Manziel? I hope I’m wrong, but so far in this draft…a swing and a miss for Ricky!

      1. Your opinion…and I hope you are right! I would have took Carr over Bridgewater. I was not impressed with what I saw from Teddy.

      2. If Teddy Bridgewater is indeed “the best QB in the class” what does it say about Rick Spielman/Norv Turner for obviously preferring Manziel?

        And there’s the dilemma for Spielman: If Bridgewater busts and Manziel becomes a star, it’s another Warren Sapp moment for the franchise. On the other hand, if Bridgewater becomes a good QB and Manziel busts, Spielman can hardly be given or take any credit for Bridgewater since he actually preferred Manziel and was merely lucky enough not to have gotten him. What is more, now that it has become known that Spielman wanted to take Manziel at #9, but it was Zimmer that insisted on grabbing Barr there instead, if Manziel busts and Barr rocks, again, Spielman cannot take any credit for Barr’s success being how he was obviously Zimmer’s choice.

        With that said, here are some intriguing questions:

        1) Does this mean that Norv Turner actually preferred Manziel, and how do you then settle for Bridgewater considering they’re two entirely different QB’s?

        2) Why is Spielman & Co. telling us that they decided Bridgewater “was their guy” immediately after conducting private workouts/meetings with him despite it now being known that he tried to trade up for Manziel?

        Which ever way you want to cut this, Spielman does not come out looking very good.

        1. The easy, obvious answer is that they weren’t targeting Manziel at all. I find it more plausible that there was someone else at 22 the Vikes wanted than JFF, because how do you run the Air Coryell with JFF? And how do you get Zimmer to buy into his ‘sideshow’?

          The Vikings didn’t want JFF, even tho they may have wanted other teams to believe it. I think the Vikes got exactly what they wanted out of the first. Sounds like they had a plan and executed, per Zimmer’s “they’re all professionals and everyone does their job in there” comment about the war room. If I had to hazard a guess, the Vikings wanted 22 for TB, not JFF.

          1. How do you run the Air Coryell with JFF? How do you run it with BRIDGEWATER!?! Do you know something about his arm strength that no one else knows?

            If Spielman wants to deny the reports that he tried to trade up for JFF, he had/has that opportunity. He has not, even though he was more than happy to deny rumors that he tried to trade for Bradford.

    1. I’ve seen that the trade up was for Teddy. Worried Browns would move up and take him. I guess we’ll never know.

  2. I love our first round! When we hired Mike Zimmer I was excited,his prowess as a Defensive coach cannot be questioned,and if he thinks Barr is the guy that can help our defense get better then i’m good with it.Getting the best QB in the draft just topped the night off great.That’s 5 first round picks in 2 years and a lot of talent in Viking Purple.

        1. A new coach, obviously.

          How would you like the following players to start building your team around – Kalil as LT, Smith as safety, Floyd as DT, Rhodes as a corner, Patterson as awesome electric football juice, Barr as pass rushing LB, and Teddy as QB. That’s a pretty damn solid young core on both sides of the ball.

      1. Where the hell have you been?
        Seemed like you and Coach disappeared at the same time. . .hmmmm.

        Good to see you back Tomb.
        And heck yeah! What a draft!

  3. Well the Seahawks got even for the Harvin trade. Probably gonna cost Ricky his job. I hope. Panic set in again..

      1. A second and a fourth. Big price to pay for yet another huge reach. Bye Ricky we hardly knew ya.

          1. Haha LMFAO. He did great setting the franchise back another three years. Congrads Ricky

            1. Johnny!! Good to see you again, but I’m worried that Freds is going to put you on suicide watch…

              1. Good to see you too Tomb but INMHO this was a stupid move for the Vikes but I guess time will tell. I hope I’m wrong

                1. Sorry Johnny, had to give you a thumbs down on that comment!
                  I wasn’t a huge fan of any of this years QB’s but of them all I feared Manziel the most. Glad we passed on him at 9.
                  Anyhoo, thanks to you and Tomb long absence, I am now the 3rd “Top Commenter”

    1. As understandable as it is to not support a prospect, he’s a Viking now and we should never hope a guy on our team is unsuccessful .. You are entitled to be disappointed but Teddy has the most important football skill there is, an ability to read the flow of the opponent and exploit it. That instinct is something they can’t teach. Let’s hope he’s a winner.

      1. I have enough hope to fill the Grand Canyon CM….I just am not crazy about Teddy.
        You are correct…I will be rooting for him! He is a Viking now. We will find out about his skills…

    2. Where the hell have you been?
      Seemed like you and Coach disappeared at the same time. . .hmmmm.

      Good to see you back Tomb.
      And heck yeah! What a draft!

  4. Carl, ESPN said Barr will be used as a DE by the VIkings. Do you see the same thing? I am thinking Barr will be used as a edge rusher on some 3-4 schemes. Zimmer likes to mix up his defenses. And I hope Arif is right about Bridgewater, if he is, the Vikings got a good QB.

    1. I hope Arif is right too WTF….if he is he should be hired as a scout or a draft analyst. Immediately. Because All these NFL dudes who get paid were wrong, while he stood staunch about Teddy being way above the others.

      1. Teddy said somebody asked him who is going to draft him, and he said the VIkings. He sounded like he wanted to be a Viking.

        1. Well…he got that right. I’d like to ask him how many Super Bowls he’s going to win!

    2. Zimmer already said at the press conference that he sees Barr as a strongside linebacker according to multiple tweets.

  5. Miss out on Manziel and draft Bridgewater? Can’t call myself a Vikings fan anymore… 1998, 2001, 2009 but this is too much.

    1. I didn’t want Manziel. I thought he was going to drop out of the first round, but the Browns drafted him.

  6. I love beer, and I love this 1st round. In that order. I think the Vikes drafted very, very well. Huge upside.

        1. I just happen to be a beer Tomb, and if you ask Mrs. Tomb, they’re not all THAT great…=>

  7. Teddy being taken at 32 takes some pressure off of him. If he had been drafted at 9 there would have been a lot more pressure.

    1. Couldn’t agree more. Taking him at nine would’ve pissed me off. At 32, he can sit behind Cassell for a year. I’m way pumped about how this worked out.

    2. This makes no sense. He’s still a first-round pick regardless, and if he can’t handle the pressure of going #9 then he probably wasn’t worth going at #32.

    1. Turner is being given to much credit. He couldn’t do anything with Drew Brees in San Diego (whereas Sean Payton made Brees a star in Orleans), or Alex Smith in San Francisco (whereas Jim Harbaugh at least made Smith good), drove Phillip Rivers’ career into the ditch in San Diego (only to have Mike McCoy and Ken Whisenhunt come in and resuscitate it) and couldn’t do a damn thing for Brandon Weeden in Cleveland. Might there be a chance that Turner isn’t as good as people think? That is, after all, what you call a “pattern of evidence”.

  8. CBS Sports gives the Bortles pick an A plus. Then gives the Bridgewater pick a B minus. WTF

    1. That’s what I mean. ARIF…you’d better be right about Teddy. Or you may never land that job.

  9. I was really anxious before that last pick but now I couldn’t be happier. I think Barr will be great, I have confidence in Zimmers ability to coach him to his full potential.

  10. If the report that Rick tried to trade up for Manziel is correct….Teddy is his 2nd choice. Lets hope that works to our favor. If so, Ricky got lucky.

    1. I heard the trade was for Bridgewater. The Vikings were worried the Browns would take Bridewater. Brett says the same thing above.

    2. It might bode well that it was Cleveland — the one franchise even more cursed than the Vikings — that prevented us from not getting Manziel.

  11. Vikes grabbed talent at their two biggest need positions. Now they get two 3rd round picks to get depth for OL, DL, DB and RB.

    Barr was watched closely by one of the NFL’s best defensive minds in Zimmer. Bridgewater was watched closely by one of the NFL’s best offensive minds in Turner. We’re not in the world anymore of having Tice, Frazier or Chilly having input on what they believe to be talent. These guys are rock stars, and I trust they didn’t flip a coin to choose someone as it has felt in the past.

    I like it…..a lot.

  12. spielman may have out smarted himself again…..I know rick wanted to trade down 2-3 spots more at 8…didn’t happen…we don’t know if gaining a 5th was enough vs not getting that CB…..but mostly, if turner wanted johnny more than teddy (we tried to trade into pick 22 for johnny) and we get teddy instead, rick might have messed this one up trying to be too cute…..seeing this first round unfold (if johnny rumors are true) I predict zimmer will outlast spielman…..if teddy doesn’t lead us to the promise land with playoffs in the new stadium, spielman will be fired for messing up this draft… casserly always says, if you want a QB and believe in him, don’t play games, just pick him and move on…..I believe as soon as rick didn’t get the good enough offer at 8 to trade down he messed up the whole draft with his typical games…..IMHO…I was quite content to let turner pick the QB he wanted and go with that….but when I hear we wanted johnny and “settled” for second best, it leaves a bad feeling in my stomach all around…..”hey, teddy, we wanted someone else, but welcome to your new home”