Vikings LB Anthony Barr says 2021 debut 'everything I hoped it would be'

Anthony Barr #55 of the Minnesota Vikings runs a drill during training camp on August 28, 2020 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  ((Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images))

A day Anthony Barr thought might never come became a reality in the Minnesota Vikings’ 19-17 win over the Detroit Lions on Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium.

For the first time in 13 months, a stretch of 18 total games, Barr was back on the field calling plays for Minnesota’s defense. Not only did Barr make his first start since Week 2 of the 2020 season, he played all 6 snaps.

He was feeling the effects of his first game back on Monday.

"There were multiple plays where I thought I was never going to be able to walk again. Your body just feels like it explodes, and you kind of get up and like ‘Oh, I’m good.’ It’s kind of sweet, kind of good to be in pain. Right now I feel like s**t. But I’ll be good in a couple days.

"I was definitely exhausted multiple times, but I’ve just got to fight through that and that’s kind of the process of building conditioning, pushing through those times where you feel like you’re going to pass out," Barr said.

Barr finished four tackles as the defense turned over Jared Goff twice, got four sacks and limited the Lions to 3-of-11 on third downs.

"I know he came over after like the third series and said ‘I feel like myself again,’" Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said. "He’s a tough guy and a good competitor."

For Barr, it was a day of emotions. He suffered a torn pectoral muscle in Week 2 last year, which required season-ending surgery. Then he missed about a month of practice, and the first four games of this season, dealing with a knee issue. Last week marked his third week of practice, and he was ready to go against the Lions.

"I’ve never worked so hard in my life to get to this point for anything. I grinded for this, just to have an opportunity to play again, I couldn’t be more thankful. Just humbled by the whole experience and looking forward to keep pushing," Barr said.

Most importantly, the Vikings got a win and can get back to .500 before their bye week with a win at Carolina.

"It was a lot of fun. It was everything I kind of hoped it would be. A lot of energy out there, a lot of emotions and kind of a crazy game. Happy to come out on the right side of it," Barr said.


Shortly after the Vikings beat the Lions on Sunday, defensive back Bashaud Breeland went to social media with an obscene tweet that has since been deleted. Breeland has had a tough start to the season, being targeted often by opposing quarterbacks and allowing big plays.

Sunday was arguably his best game of the season. He had five tackles and played every defensive snap.

"I’m convince yal love my Johnson in yal mouth enjoy the win and shut tf up," Breeland tweeted.

Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said Monday he’ll address the matter with Breeland internally. Zimmer said the tweet was directed at a reporter, and not at fans angry with Breeland’s struggles. He came into Sunday’s game ranked 103rd among defensive backs by Pro Football Focus, one of the lowest in the NFL.

"We’ll handle it. I actually think he played pretty well. I think if I was asked the question by that reporter that he was asked the other day about being embarrassed and 103rd in PFF, I might go off on him too," Zimmer said.

Breeland’s tweet comes a week after Cameron Dantzler went to social media, seemingly upset about a lack of playing time on defense. Dantzler did not play Sunday due to COVID-19 protocols.