For the first time in more than a year, Minnesota Vikings strong side linebacker Anthony Barr has no injury designation attached to his name.
And that means barring an unforeseen twist, Barr will be back on the field this Sunday against the Detroit Lions. Barr has missed 18 straight regular season games.
Our Sean Borman tweeted about Barr’s availability:
Mike Zimmer said he expects Anthony Barr to play his usual full-time role, including nickel snapshots.
– Sean Borman (@SeanBormanNFL) October 8, 2021
The Vikings desperately need a catalyst to return their defense to pre-2020 form. Many onlookers on the team feel it could be Barr. Minnesota’s defense didn’t play well in 1.5 games with Barr in 2020, but also without Danielle Hunter and Michael Pierce. Sunday should be a good indication of how important Barr is (or was) to head coach Mike Zimmer’s defense.
Here is the receipt for the injury report for week 5:
#Vikings injury report
OUT: Michael Pierce and Ihmir Smith-Marsette
QUESTIONABLE: Dalvin Cook
– Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) October 8, 2021
Barr’s name isn’t there, which is encouraging news for a franchise looking to prevent opponents from cutting them to the ground and exposing them through the air. So far in 2021, Minnesota’s defense has somehow kept points to a relative low, ranking 11th-best in the NFL in points scored allowed. However, it doesn’t feel like that, not one iota. The strangest part? Vikings are surpassing opponents cumulatively for four games while showing a losing record. Calculate that.
The Vikings are the only team in the NFC North for 4 weeks to cumulatively outperform their opponents.
And yet they are 1-3.
– Dustin Baker (@DustBaker) October 4, 2021
With the Vikings’ few turnovers on offense, outscoring opponents overall, and their remarkably improved special teams, there are many oddities as to why they have a losing record. But that’s what it will do to an organization to miss a chip shot field goal to win a game against the best team in soccer.
In numbers specifically, Zimmer’s low points allowed are great, but yards allowed are a big concern. The Vikings are allowing opposing offenses the fifth most yards in four games. That fifth-worst figure also translates to yards per play. Minnesota also ranks 28th on that metric.
The only defensive items that click for the Vikings right now are sacks and 3rd Down conversion percentage. They have the fourth-most sacks in the NFL, with the seventh-best defensive conversion percentage on a third down to keep up with the quarterback’s pressure. These metrics keep Vikings competitive in games; the rest is cowardly.
That’s where Barr should help. The man does not fill out a stat sheet, leading some fans to believe that he has been overpaid, but is a captain similar to a general ring in wrestling. Barr has also been a member of the Vikings since the dawn of the Zimmer era. He was drafted in 2014 in the first round, Zimmer’s maiden voyage.
There is a possibility that too much hope is attributed to Barr’s ability to help reverse the Vikings’ weakened defense. After all, he is only a man. Nevertheless, something He is lost. Zimmer plays two gigantic men in the middle of his defensive line, Michael Pierce and Dalvin Tomlinson, but the running defense sucks. Pierce and Tomlinson are doing well respectively, so an unknown disorder is evident. Teams race to the outside against the Vikings, cutting them into the ground with little impediment.
Fans will find out Sunday against the Lions to) Preparing for Barr’s game after injury recovery B) How much it means to Zimmer’s defensive formula.
Minnesota has beaten Detroit seven times in a row.
Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. He present a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. Their Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Guilty pleasures listed: Peanut butter ice cream, ‘The Sopranos’ and The Doors (the band).