MINNEAPOLIS – It was a somber moment for Anthony Barr, who quietly took in the memorial set up at the intersection of East 38th Street and Chicago Avenue.
The Vikings linebacker stood near the spot George Floyd was killed on May 25, 2020.
"This is emotional, man," Barr said. "Someone lost their life right here, for no good reason, you know?"
Brightly colored flowers, candles in glass jars and handwritten signs of all sizes and shapes surrounded Barr and five Vikings teammates – Eric Kendricks, Garrett Bradbury, Stephen Weatherly, Ameer Abdullah and Olisaemeka Udoh – who last week visited George Floyd Square, a memorial that has been in place for the past year.
The teammates were warmly welcomed by a community advocate, Jay, who encouraged them to plant a flower in a garden that has been created in Floyd's memory. According to Jay, Timberwolves All-Star Karl-Anthony Towns had paid his respects earlier in the week and similarly planted a flower to honor the Floyd family.
Vikings players visited George Floyd Square in Minneapolis.
Abdullah, Barr, Bradbury, Kendricks, Udoh and Weatherly embraced the suggestion, bending down to carefully place roots beneath the surface and pat the surrounding earth firm around.
Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted on April 20 of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd's death. Three other officers are awaiting trial for aiding Chauvin. Federal charges also have been filed against all four officers.
There is a duality in paying respects to Floyd's memory and facilitating healing for the community.
The Vikings didn't hurry their visit, instead taking time to read tributes and recognize calls for unity and societal change.
Udoh was particularly struck by various messages written on signs or scrawled in pastel chalk over dark asphalt.
" 'We will never forget'; 'Rest in power,' " Udoh pointed out before adding, "But a lot of healing has come from this, so it's also very good."
Abdullah, who is part of the Vikings Social Justice Committee and committed to giving back, felt the significance of community members creating and preserving such a space.
"It just really puts in perspective the impact that [Floyd's death and ensuing response] has had on this city. The impact that it's had on this country," Abdullah said. "I mean, this entire block is now this."
He added, "I'm really lost for words, honestly."