Anthony Barr a Finalist for Prestigious Honor
Anthony Barr hasn’t made a splash in the NFL’s 2022 free-agency period, but he’s still making news for all the right reasons.
Barr was nominated for the Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award on Tuesday along with Minnesota Timberwolves all-star Karl-Anthony Towns.
Among various community achievements in the Twin Cities, Barr is the face of the Raise the Barr foundation, which increases “opportunity and economic mobility for single-parent families through education.” Barr and his mother, Lori, founded the organization in 2016.
Barr played for the Vikings from 2014 to 2021, exactly aligning with the tenure of former head coach Mike Zimmer. The Vikings moved on from Zimmer in January, onboarding Kevin O’Connell as head coach after his Los Angeles Rams won a Super Bowl in February. And when O’Connell first greeted Vikings fans and reporters at an introductory press conference, the new head coach was overly complimentary of Barr and his performance on the field, leading some to believe the linebacker could return to the Vikings in 2022. Barr posted a defacto farewell to Vikings fans on Instagram when the 2021 regular season wrapped up.
With the Vikings, Barr visited four Pro Bowls, earned two All-Pro distinctions, and posted 495 total tackles, plus 17.5 sacks and five interceptions in eight seasons. A free-agent market for the UCLA alumnus figured to be moderately robust, but Barr never signed anywhere, suggesting perhaps injuries have taken a career-ending toll.
The winner of the Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award will be announced on July 20th at the ESPY Awards on ABC. In addition to Barr and Towns, MLBer Albert Pujols and soccer player Brad Stuver were nominated for the award.
Past winners of the MASH award include Nelson Cruz, Kevin Durant, and Chris Paul, among others.
Barr has been linked in the rumor mill to the Dallas Cowboys, New York Jets, and Arizona Cardinals for 2022 if he indeed returns to football. He turned 30 in March.
Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).