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Lunch Break, August 19: Barr's Potential and Saturday's Starter at QB

Posted Aug 19, 2014

Brian Robison: Anthony Barr can be a force for Vikings

With the selection of a first round quarterback, the Vikings first pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, linebacker Anthony Barr, seems to be flying under the radar among media outlets but not his teammates.

Vikings veteran defensive end Brian Robison has noticed the benefits the rookie can bring to the retooled Minnesota defense, per NFL.com’s Kevin Patra:

The rookie outside linebacker leads the Vikings in sacks (1.5) though two games and has the team's only forced fumble.

Barr's teammates believe the linebacker will become a beast as a pass rusher from the second level.

"He can give us that versatility on defense to where we can all kind of move around and have different parts of the defense and allow us to keep offenses offbeat," defensive end Brian Robison said,  per The Star-Tribune. "(Offenses) can't key in on one guy. If they have one guy they need to take care of, they can't because they don't know where he's going to be. "

One example of where the Vikings can utilize Barr's versatility is in nickel packages. On Saturday against the Cardinals, Barr slid down to the right end spot on a third-and-2 from Arizona's own 13-yard line. Everson Griffen flipped to the left side and Robison moved inside to a tackle position. The Vikings got a great pressure, which led to a throwaway and punt.

Barr has been impressive since the first day of full pads so you can count on that continuing into the regular season.

Vikings: Cassel will start Saturday

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer committed to starting quarterback Matt Cassel for the third preseason game and the first on the road for Minnesota. ESPN’s Ben Goessling writes about Cassel once again getting the nod and the chance of Teddy Bridgewater playing some with the first team:

Matt Cassel will start the Minnesota Vikings' preseason game on Saturday night against the Kansas City Chiefs, but coach Mike Zimmer still isn't ready to announce a decision on a starting quarterback for the Vikings' regular-season opener.

Cassel, who has completed 17 of his 22 passes for 215 yards and a touchdown in the preseason, would seem to have the inside track on the job over Teddy Bridgewater. Zimmer said it's a possibility Bridgewater could see some time with the first team on Saturday, but wouldn't say for sure whether that will happen. The Vikings have been operating as though Cassel is their starting quarterback, but Zimmer said after last Saturday's game against the Arizona Cardinals that he wanted players to keep competing, so he could be delaying an announcement to encourage competition.

Bridgewater went 16-for-20 on Saturday night, throwing for 177 yards and a pair of touchdowns, including the game-winner to Rodney Smith in the final minute

The Vikings currently have a good problem on their hands with both Cassel and Bridgewater playing well in the preseason. Both quarterbacks boast a quarterback rating of 100-plus through the first two games, proving that Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner knows what he’s doing, as if he needed to prove anything.

Quick Hitters

- Vikings linebacker Audie Cole has gone from castoff to contending for a starting job via Pioneer Press’s Brian Murphy.

- Matt Kalil participated in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge yesterday at Winter Park and called out a couple of his teammates.