Vikings New Signing Tips Their Hand
Not long ago — like a month — Minnesota Vikings fans were examining the 2024 NFL Draft quarterback crop, speculating about the future because the club was surely sunk with a 1-4 record.
The Vikings haphazardly committed turnovers, and the defense wasn’t quite doing the trick.
Vikings New Signing Tips Their Hand
After the 1-4 start, however, Minnesota began winning games and has rattled off five consecutive victories, courtesy of a fixed turnover problem and suddenly good defense. Along the way, injuries arose to players like Kirk Cousins, Justin Jefferson, Cam Akers, and Marcus Davenport, to name a few, but the club kept winning regardless.
Then, last Sunday, linebacker Jordan Hicks — the defense’s top player next to Camryn Bynum, according to Pro Football Focus — was injured with compartment syndrome and will miss a game or two.
And how did the Vikings respond? They signed former Viking Anthony Barr.
It was a reunion totally unforeseen and tipped the Vikings hand regarding the 2023 season. How? Well, adding Barr proves Minnesota is in it to win it, maintaining hopes of a playoff push and perhaps a grander outcome if the chips fall its way.
The Vikings had inside linebacking depth options — their names are Troy Dye and Nick Vigil. If healthy, second-year defender Brian Asamoah is expected to fill Hicks’ shoes during his absence.
Firing up the reunion with Barr is a measure concocted by contending teams. While the Vikings have a long way to go — they basically have to wait and see if Josh Dobbs is the real deal at quarterback — affixing Barr to the roster is a move for the big boys. To some extent, the Vikings believe they’re just that, contenders.
Before signing in Minnesota, Barr reportedly met with the Philadelphia Eagles, a club with the third-best Super Bowl odds through 10 weeks. Teams like the Eagles or Kansas City Chiefs add beef when a veteran player is injured, and that’s precisely what Minnesota did Monday with Barr.
The Vikings somewhat easily could’ve “done nothing” in the way of signing a linebacker for depth with Hicks’ injury or simply added an anonymous undrafted defender no one had ever heard of. Had they used either method, most fans wouldn’t have questioned it, as Asamoah, Dye, and Vigil are enough to get over the hump until Hicks returns.
Yet, the Vikings got deeper and did so in grandiose fashion with Barr. The UCLA alumnus played for the Vikings for eight years, from 2014 to 2021, and onboarding his experience, plus the homecoming angle, proves the team’s earnestness in contending.
What’s more, the transaction makes sense, especially for those who believe the Vikings are a dangerous team. Defensive coordinator Brian Flores loves to blitz — like all the time — and Barr’s talents will mesh accordingly and probably immediately. In fact, Vikings fans screamed for Barr in an EDGE-rushing role for years. They may get their wish during Barr’s rearrival.
There was no requirement to sign a big-name veteran like Barr. He’s a four-time Pro Bowler. The current roster could’ve limped by without Hicks. But the Vikings said no thanks to the status quo by adding Barr and uplifted their lofty expectations for the next 2-3 months.
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 Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).