EAGAN, Minn. — Anthony Barr said Monday he is ready to return to the lineup after missing the past three games.
The Vikings linebacker has been sidelined since injuring his hamstring in Minnesota’s Week 7 road win against the Jets.
“I plan to play,” Barr said of Sunday’s game against the Packers. Kickoff is at 7:20 p.m. (CT) on Sunday Night Football from U.S. Bank Stadium.
Barr missed practice in the weeks after the win over New York, including this past Wednesday, but was limited in practice on Thursday and Friday.
The linebacker, who was listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against the Bears, he’s excited to return to the field.
“I felt good, but I’ve got to be smart,” Barr said. “I don’t want to be a liability out there if I don’t feel 100 percent. But I feel good now.
“I play for the guys in this locker room,” Barr later added. “I want to be able to be on the field and play at a high level when I’m able to.”
Barr has 39 total tackles (according to coaches’ tally) along with three tackles for loss, four quarterback hurries and two passes defensed.
“It’s been frustrating, but it is what it is. I have to control what I can control,” said Barr, who has been to three straight Pro Bowls. “I’m feeling better and looking forward to getting back out there this week.”
Vikings linebacker Eric Wilson has played in Barr’s place for the past three games. He recorded his first career sack on Sunday at Chicago but was critical of his performance after the game.
“For the most part he’s done well,” Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said of Wilson. “I don’t think last night was his best game, but the other games he’s played pretty well.”
Added Barr: “I’ve thought he’s played good. Aggressive. He’s a smart football player with a chip on his shoulder. He wants to be great, so I thought he’s done a very good job.”
Abdullah’s first action as a Viking
Ameer Abdullah accounted for 67 yards on three total touches in his Purple debut on Sunday night.
The running back, who was signed just before Minnesota’s Week 10 bye, had one reception for 10 yards and two kickoff returns for 57 yards against the Bears.
Abdullah played eight total snaps, including seven on special teams. He returned two of Chicago’s six kickoffs.
“We want to be as effective for the team as possible,” Abdullah explained about when he does and doesn’t take the kick out. “It’s a team-first game, so all your personal things you want, your personal agenda, doesn’t matter when it’s this late in the year.
“We’re going to always do what’s best for the team. If we feel like taking it out is best for the team in that moment, we’re going to do so,” Abdullah added. “But if we feel like letting the ball go through [the end zone] is best, we’ll do so as well.”
Abdullah said he’s spent the past week getting up to speed on Minnesota’s playbook.
“You definitely need to do the best you can to make sure you’re holding your end of the bargain,” Abdullah said. “These guys are moving at such a high speed, so if you’re asked to be in there then you need to be at the same speed. I’m going to do the best I can to do so.”
At one point in the first half, Mitchell Trubisky had scrambled four times to pick up 39 yards and three separate first downs.
The Bears quarterback finished the game with 10 carries for 43 yards, meaning the Vikings kept him under wraps for the second half of Minnesota’s 25-20 loss.
What was the secret to limiting the damage by Trubisky in the final two-plus quarters?
“Halftime adjustments, really,” said Vikings defensive end Stephen Weatherly. “We saw how they were trying to attack us, and we made adjustments to stop us.
“He put on film multiple times that he will run on any down if he feels threatened. We knew it coming in,” Weatherly added. “Honestly, I thought I had him. I thought he wasn’t looking the time I was on the field, and he did see me and he made me miss. It’s something I’m going to learn from.”
Added Vikings linebacker Eric Kendricks: “Just being conscious of it. We know what he likes to do; we had everybody locked in, ‘He’s going to look to run, and he’s good at that.’ Just being aware of that.”
Weatherly said the Vikings will learn from their first game against Trubisky, while preparing for another mobile quarterback on Sunday in Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers.
“One thing we’re going to have to stress going forward, because we have another mobile quarterback this upcoming week, is finishing when you get to the point of contact,” Weatherly added. “Finish the tackle, making sure your feet are right, your hips are right and wrapping up and following through.
“There’s no shooting your shot or diving like other quarterbacks that just go down with an arm,” Weatherly added. “You have to bring your legs, bring your feet and make sure you’re in position.”
Trubisky now leads all NFL quarterbacks with 363 rushing yards and has three rushing scores.
Compton gives it a go
Tom Compton was listed as questionable heading into Sunday’s game but ended up starting his eighth game of the season.
The guard lasted 36 of Minnesota’s 67 total offensive plays as he was replaced by Danny Isidora on the Vikings opening drive of the fourth quarter.
“Things were going well in the first quarter, and by the second quarter I could kind of feel it coming on,” said Compton, who has been dealing with a knee injury. “By the third quarter, it just couldn’t really hold up. I thought we’d have a better chance to win if I came out so I took myself out to try to give us the best chance to win.
“Toward the end there, it just wasn’t feeling right so I tried to make the best play for the team,” Compton later added.