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Anthony Barr Battling Through Knee Injury But Believes 'Worst is Behind Me'

EAGAN, Minn. — After plenty of frustration over the past few weeks, Anthony Barr said he feels on the mend with his knee injury.

The Vikings four-time Pro Bowl linebacker talked with Twin Cities media members Thursday and gave an update on his condition, noting he feels he is trending in the right direction.

"It happened kind of earlier on in camp, and I'm just trying to battle through it," Barr said. "It just wasn't getting better, so I took some time to get it right. I think I'm approaching that point."

Barr participated in training camp practices up until Aug. 5 when he watched from the sideline. He returned Aug. 6, but then missed multiple weeks.

He was a limited participant on Sept. 8 but didn't practice again until Wednesday. He was at practice again Thursday, marking the first time he participated in back-to-back practices since Aug. 3 and 4.

And this is all coming off a 2020 season in which Barr suffered a season-ending pectoral injury in Week 2.

He admitted the injury luck was frustrating at times.

"Yeah, it sucks. It was bad. But I think you kind of play the hand you're dealt, you know?," Barr said. "So I think the worst is behind me, which feels good. Just have to continue to move forward, progress and stack these good days."

Barr declined to comment on his status for Sunday's game against the Seahawks, but said he wants to be able to contribute if he is on the field.

"I'm not sure yet. I would love to. I would love nothing more than to be playing," Barr said. "But it's something that obviously I want to make sure I'm 100 percent.

"I think I owe it to myself and owe it to the team not to put myself out there if I'm not going to be at full-speed," Barr added. "But I feel like I'm approaching that point."

Vikings Co-Defensive Coordinator Adam Zimmer, who is also Barr's position coach, agreed with that sentiment.

"Yeah, it's important that he knows that this isn't something that's going to linger the whole year," Zimmer said. "We were cautious with him so that he felt right and felt 100 percent. Now I think mentally he's in a good spot where he knows that, 'Hey, I'm going to be fine, I just have to make sure that I have the strength and the conditioning and all those things that come with playing a real football game.'

"I'm just going to take it day-by-day. He was out of practice, he had a few reps [Wednesday]," Zimmer later added. "I think he'll be out there today, and we'll see how he looks and how he feels. A lot of that's up to how he feels with his conditioning and his strength and all those things."

Barr said he doesn't foresee his knee injury being a problem that will linger all year, adding that he can't wait to help make an impact.

Upon his eventual return, the training and coaching staffs will keep a close eye on Barr's status.

"I don't know about a pitch count. I think I'm going to have to see how it goes during the game, see how he is," Zimmer said. "If we're getting three and outs every series, it might be different than if we have a 10-play drive or whatever.

"But we will have a plan. I'm 100-percent confident with Nick Vigil in the game," Zimmer said. "It might be a time where we just want to get Nick in. It's not just Anthony or whatever. I think it's going on the flow of the game."

Vigil has played every defensive snap so far in 2021, and he produced a highlight-reel play with a 38-yard interception return for a score in Week 2.

Barr said he wants to do what he can to get the Vikings out of an 0-2 hole.

"We're playing really hard," Barr said. "I think [there's been] just a few big plays here and there that put us in tough situations.

"But for the most part, man, the guys are battling real hard, all on the same page, and I think the effort's been pretty great," Barr added. "I think if we continue playing hard like that, we put ourselves in position to be successful."