EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) - The crowd at Minnesota's preseason games has given
The quarterback was always going to be the featured offseason acquisition for this team, considering the passing problems of the last four years, and the smiling soft-spoken kid coming off a high-profile career at Louisville has been met with great anticipation from the masses. Further proof: those ''Teddy! Teddy! Teddy!'' chants throughout his time on the field during the first two exhibitions.
In those same games, though, Barr's play was just as obvious. The outside linebacker has a sack and a half, a quarterback pressure and a forced fumble so far.
''Doing all right. Getting better. Made some mistakes,'' Barr said.
He won't make a name for himself with measured comments like those, but the ninth overall pick in the draft -- 23 spots ahead of Bridgewater -- is poised to make a big impact on coach
Barr, so far, has shown he can.
''Anthony has so many good things going for him. He is extremely smart. He hardly makes the same mistake twice. He takes unbelievable notes, and he is a great athlete,'' Zimmer said recently, before going on to praise the way Barr has handled his criticism: ''He does not get shaken up, and he does not go in his shell.''
Barr, at 6-foot-5 and 255 pounds, has the prototypical pass-rusher body, and the Vikings have been trying to take advantage of that. He's the starter in the base alignment at the strong side spot and stays on the field for the nickel package with
Barr, however, has been moved to defensive end at times in those passing situations with the nickel group as the Vikings work on varying his role with the goal of making it more effective and less predictable. The sack Barr recorded for a 9-yard loss at the end of the first half against Arizona on Saturday came during a play that started with him in a three-point stance with his hand on the turf.
''It's fun, yeah,'' Barr said. ''It gives me a different look.''
Already, opposing tackles have begun to shift back a bit to give them a better chance of blocking Barr on his rush.
''He's got great instinct. He's a great kid, he works hard, he's humble and he wants to be great,'' Greenway said. ''So the sky's the limit for him.''
Barr's progress has also eliminated one position of concern on a defense that still has several.
''The other guy?'' Zimmer said derisively, when asked about Robinson's return. ''Who knows?''