Daniel House caught up with Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr and found out how the top-pick is transitioning to the NFL.
Updated: July 31st, 2014 9:31am
By: Daniel House
Linebacker Anthony Barr was drafted with the thought of becoming a big threat on the defensive side of the ball. He has done just that in the short time he has been with the Minnesota Vikings organization. Barr was selected with the ninth pick during the NFL Draft in May. He played running back for UCLA during the first two years, but joined the linebackers for his final two seasons. During those two seasons, he corralled 23.5 sacks and added 105 tackles. Those who watched Anthony Barr make the transition from offense to defense, knew he would become a monstrous threat and a top-pick in the NFL draft. Barr is enjoying his first training camp and is having a great time transitioning to the pace of the NFL.
"It's football. I'm having a good time out here, just trying to get better," Barr said.
Yesterday, Anthony Barr witnessed his first round of reps with the starters and this was a very surreal moment for him. He understands he needs to stay focused and continue to improve, but it is exciting for him to see the progress he is making early in his NFL career.
"It's cool [to see first-team reps]. At first it might be a little surreal, but you get out there and realize it is football. I'm having a great time and hopefully I continue to improve," Barr added.
During the afternoon session of practice yesterday, Barr was working on some drills with the defensive lineman. Defensive line coach Andre Patterson was working on shedding blocks by using the sled. The specific focus came by performing the swim move, while working on initiating contact at the line of scrimmage. Anthony Barr was coming off the ball extremely fast and his footwork was textbook coming out of the swim. Barr is very open to seeing work in a variety of ways on defense, including with the defensive lineman.
"Yeah, I'm doing a little bit of everything. I think whatever the coaches ask is what I'm going to do. I just think the more you can do as a player, the more valuable you are, so that's what I'm going to try to do," Barr explained.
On several occasions at practice, Anthony Barr has been working in the nickel defense with Chad Greenway. Barr says he never really has played in the nickel system, but he is embracing the new challenge.
"It's different [playing in nickel], something I haven't done before, something I'm definitely enjoying, something I'm definitely taking a liking to. I've just got to continue, just like everything else, do the work at it, and hopefully earn a spot there," Barr said.
Barr is is looking forward to playing in the physical defense Mike Zimmer is installing with the Minnesota Vikings. He likes the aggressive edge and the physicality that comes along with playing a role in this defensive scheme. Barr is looking forward to seeing action in the scheme and hopes if he continues to work hard, he can make some electrifying plays in this defense.
"Just how aggressive [the defense] is. How versatile it is. It puts guys in positions that allow them to make plays. Hopefully if I can continue to do what I'm asked to do, I can make some plays for this team," Barr explained.
His sole focus at this time is to become familiar with the defense, but he understands that no roster spot is just given to you. Barr understands it will take hard work to be successful and he hopes the coaches give him the chance to make plays on the field.
"Right now it's just earning a spot on the team, that's first and foremost. Hopefully if I continue to work at practice and make some plays, the coaches will allow me to play for this football team," Barr concluded.