You May Not Immediately Recognize Anthony Barr on the Field

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Anthony Barr spent eight seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, exactly aligned with former head coach Mike Zimmer’s tenure from 2014 to 2021.

The defender wore No. 55 in 98 Vikings games, but when he hits the field — which could be this weekend at the Denver Broncos — fans will have to look for Barr in Eric Kendricks’ jersey number.

You May Not Immediately Recognize Anthony Barr on the Field

Minnesota signed Barr, then a free agent, on Monday after Jordan Hicks was diagnosed with compartment syndrome. Hicks, who has produced a career season so far, will miss at least four games on injured reserve and be eligible to return on Christmas Eve versus the Detroit Lions.

You May Not Immediately
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Until then, Barr and his new teammate Brian Asamoah are on tap for Hicks’ snaps, and Barr will do just that wearing the No. 54. “I called EK and asked him if it was cool. He gave me his blessing,” Barr told reporters this week upon arriving in Eagan.

Incidentally, Barr and Kendricks were close friends as Vikings during the Zimmer era and were college teammates and roommates at UCLA. In that vein, it would’ve been a little strange if Kendricks said no. Kendricks now plays for the Los Angeles Chargers — wearing No. 6.

Fire Up Biggest
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Barr also mentioned preparing for his new role, “It’s been a little bit. I know how to prepare and what I need to do to get where I’ve got to get to.”

And Vikings defensive bossman Brian Flores is happy to have Barr on board. He told the media about Barr’s arrival, “I know the player well. First time meeting him today, but I’ve watched a lot of film on him and the Zimmer defense. Very productive. Experienced. Smart. Those things I’ve heard from multiple people I trust. His ability to pick up defense, understand things conceptually, so excited to get him, but again, it’s the first day. Different scheme. Different terminology. We’re excited to have him work with him and how it all shapes out.”

Aspect of Vikings
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The aforementioned Asamoah was limited at practice on Wednesday, and if he cannot play at the Broncos, Barr, Troy Dye, or Nick Vigil would field the Hicks snaps.

Flores added, “His role? It will be what he makes it over the course of this week.”

Barr last played for the Dallas Cowboys in 2022. Throughout the summer, the New York Giants, New York Jets, and New Orleans Saints allegedly had some degree of interest in Barr, but no deal(s) came together.

Anthony Barr a Finalist for Prestigious Honor
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Drafted by Minnesota in 2014, Barr was a staple of Zimmer’s defense for eight seasons, recording four Pro Bowls from 2015 to 2018. From 2020 to 2021, Barr missed 63% of all football games for the Vikings, and Minnesota’s defense suffered accordingly. In Barr’s first six seasons, the Vikings defense ranked #1 in the NFL per defensive EPA/Play. From 2020 to 2021 — largely without the services of Danielle Hunter and Barr — the franchise sunk to 23rd in the same metric.

Barr tallied a 59.7 grade from Pro Football Focus in Dallas last year while playing 609 defensive snaps, a considerable amount.

Ultimately, in a nostalgia-fueled reemergence, look for Barr in Kendricks’ jersey this week or next.

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).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by