EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Anthony Barr remembers the waiting period for the NFL Draft's arrival being out of his control and the emotional moment that made it worthwhile.
Barr and 2014 draft classmates had to wait two weeks longer than the 2015 group of prospects will to hear their names called as the first step of their dreams becoming fulfilled.
"You can only do so much and hope somebody likes you enough to pick you," Barr said.
The Vikings weren't the only ones impressed by Barr, but they claimed him with the ninth overall pick.
"It's a very fun day. The day of the draft is something you'll always remember, something you can share with their family and friends if you're lucky enough to be with them," Barr said. "It's a life-changing experience, not only for yourself but for those around you. You just try to enjoy it as much as possible."
This year's draft will be held in Chicago from April 30-May 2, and Barr has shared some advice with friends who are ready to become colleagues.
"I've got some friends that are kind of going through this process right now, and I'm just trying to tell them to enjoy it as much as possible, but it's not the easiest thing to do," Barr said. "There's a lot of nerves and a lot of unknown, so I'm definitely happy that's behind me and I'm in a good place."
Part of Barr's advice was to stay in shape as much as possible while prospects were going on pre-draft visits with multiple teams.
His impact became immediate for the Vikings, with Barr starting the first 12 games of the season until sidelined by an injury. He was credited with 10 solo tackles and a quarterback hurry in his first start and finished his first campaign with 99 tackles (72 solo), 4.0 sacks and 13 quarterback hurries.
Barr also delivered one of the most dramatic finishes to a game in franchise history when he forced a fumble, recovered the ball and returned it 27 yards for a touchdown on the first play from scrimmage in overtime at Tampa Bay.
Barr and teammates convened at Winter Park Monday to begin the team's voluntary offseason workout program. He has individual and team goals going into his first full offseason program with the Vikings.
"I want to get stronger," Barr said. "I think now that I understand my assignments and getting the grasp of the entire defense and being a better tackler. I think I missed too many last season, so those are my points of emphasis, and I'm trying to improve on those."
He said he thinks the defense can become more technically sound in its second year under Head Coach Mike Zimmer and Defensive Coordinator George Edwards.
"Stopping the run is number one on our list of things to do," Barr said. "If we do that, it will open up a lot of options."
The Vikings will open the 2015 regular season at 9:20 p.m. (CT) on Sept. 14 at San Francisco. Click here for more on this year's schedule.