Cowboys Pump Brakes on Interest in Ex-Vikings LB

Flashback: Vikings Defeat Cowboys in 2009 Playoffs
Jan 3, 2021; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Dallas Cowboys helmets. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports.

Ad nauseam this offseason, ex-Minnesota Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr has been the subject of Dallas Cowboys free-agent rumors.

Barr indicated when the 2021 regular season ended that his Vikings career was presumably over, and most NFL brains believed he’d sign elsewhere in March or April. But those months passed, and the UCLA alumnus remains a free agent.

Multiple credible sources have implied Dallas’ interest in the 30-year-old linebacker, but the brakes appeared to be pumped on Barr-to-Cowboys, illuminated in a tweet from Calvin Watkins on Monday, who covers the Cowboys for Dallas Morning News.

Barr’s lack of employment as training camps begin leaguewide is truly a mystery. Thirty years old for an NFL linebacker is not geriatric, nor did Barr struggle in 2021. In fact, he performed quite well, registering a 62.9 grade from Pro Football Focus, including three interceptions. Barr created a couple of game-changing plays, too, against the Baltimore Ravens and Los Angeles Rams during his final Vikings stint that the team ultimately squandered.

Anthony Barr a Finalist for Prestigious Honor
Feb 10, 2022; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Anthony Barr. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

Drafted by Minnesota in 2014 at the dawn of the Mike Zimmer era, Barr played eight seasons for the Vikings, tallying four Pro Bowls from 2015 to 2018. His tenure in Minnesota precisely aligned with Zimmer’s employment, joining in 2014 and [evidently] departing after the 2021 season.

With the Vikings, Barr posted 495 total tackles, plus 17.5 sacks and five interceptions in eight seasons.

Barr was often the epoxy for Mike Zimmer’s defense with the Vikings, as evidenced in 2020 when the defense plunged into doldrums without him. Since the start of 2020, Barr has missed 63% of all football games, mainly because of a torn pectoral muscle in the pandemic season. Injury speculation has caused a few Vikings pundits to predict Barr’s possible retirement, although that is theoretical.

A few other teams have been whispered in the Barr mini-sweepstakes. The New York Jets, Washington Commanders, and Arizona Cardinals are also theorized landing spots.

When the Vikings new head coach Kevin O’Connell took over the organization in February, he went out of his way to compliment Barr in his introductory press conference, signaling a possible reunion in Minnesota. After that presser, though, all things Barr and Vikings turned to cricket sounds.

Barr is among 29 players in Vikings history to reach at least four Pro Bowls while with the organization.

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).

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