Anthony Barr

Vikings’ Everson Griffen Suffers Concussion In Car Accident, Out For Week 2

Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen sustained a concussion in a car accident this week and will not play in the team’s Week 2 game. The Vikings ruled out Griffen and linebacker Anthony Barr for Sunday’s Cardinals matchup.

Griffen’s accident occurred when he swerved to avoid a deer and crashed into a tree, according to the Minnetrista (Minn.) Public Safety Department (via KSTP). Griffen was on his way to the team’s facility. He is now in the Vikings’ concussion protocol. The recently re-signed pass rusher missed Minnesota’s past two practices.

The Vikings re-signed Griffen this summer, doing so after he spent the 2020 season with the Cowboys and Lions. Griffen, 33, played 41% of Minnesota’s defensive snaps in Week 1. Second-year D-end D.J. Wonnum started opposite Danielle Hunter in Cincinnati. Wonnum, Stephen Weatherly and rookie third-rounder Patrick Jones reside as the non-Hunter contingent of the Vikings’ defensive end corps.

Barr did not practice this week due to a knee injury that will keep him out for a second straight game. The eighth-year outside linebacker missed 14 games last season due to a pectoral muscle tear, and he has not played thus far this season. Barr, 29, agreed to a pay cut this offseason. He is now due for free agency in 2022.

The Vikings also ruled out first-round pick Christian Darrisaw for the second straight week. Although the rookie got in three limited practices, the Vikes are exercising caution here. The team’s would-be left tackle is working his way back from core-muscle surgery, his second of the year. Rashod Hill will continue to start at left tackle for the Vikings.

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Vikings LB Cameron Smith Medically Cleared

Vikings LB Cameron Smith might not be a household name, but his return to the practice field is still noteworthy. The 24-year-old, who missed the entire 2020 campaign due to open-heart surgery, has been medically cleared to play, as Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press tweets.

Smith has had a tumultuous start to his pro career. Despite less than impressive measurables, his instincts and collegiate production as a four-year player at USC got the Vikings’ attention, and Minnesota selected him in the fifth round of the 2019 draft. He did not survive final cutdowns at the end of his first training camp, though he was quickly signed to the Vikes’ practice squad after he cleared waivers. He was promoted a few weeks later, saw action in a couple of games, and was waived again, only to end up back on the Vikings’ taxi squad before getting another promotion.

In all, he played five games in 2019, compiling eight tackles. Last August, during a COVID test, doctors discovered his heart condition. “COVID saved my life,” Smith said (Twitter link via Tomasson). The Vikings put him on waivers in a procedural move when they realized he would need heart surgery, and he subsequently reverted to season-ending IR (the club paid him his full $675K salary).

Now, Smith has rejoined his teammates, though he will still have an uphill battle to see significant burn on the defensive side of the ball. The Vikings are returning Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks, and Minnesota also nabbed North Carolina LB Chazz Surratt in the third round of this year’s draft. Surratt is likely the favorite to land the weakside ‘backer job alongside Barr and Kendricks, but Smith will try to push him for playing time. If nothing else, he could carve out a role on special teams.

Speaking of Barr, the four-time Pro Bowler was also back on the practice field this week, as Tomasson tweets. Barr missed all but two games of the 2020 season due to a torn pec, and he reworked his contract this offseason. He will now be eligible for free agency next March.

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NFL Contract Details: Fuller, Ford, Barr, Pats

As free agency’s second wave continues, here are the latest contract details from around the league:

  • 49ers DE Dee Ford: Two years, $24MM. $11.6MM guaranteed, with $4.6MM of that sum due in 2022, David Lombardi and Matt Barrows of The Athletic note (subscription required). Ford’s 2021 guarantees ($7MM) include a $4MM base salary. Ford’s contract also includes a void year (2023).
  • Dolphins WR Will Fuller: One year, $10.63MM. Contract maxes out at $13.63MM, with $3MM available in performance-based incentives, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle tweets. Fuller will receive a $9.6MM signing bonus and is due a $990K base salary.
  • Vikings LB Anthony Barr: One year, fully guaranteed $9.4MM. $8.4MM signing bonus, $1MM base salary. Barr’s cap number will drop to $6.1MM. Contract includes $3MM in sack-based incentives and features two void years, per the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s Ben Goessling (all Twitter links).
  • Patriots T Trent Brown: Fully guaranteed $6.5MM base salary, up to $2MM in per-game roster bonuses, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. Contract can climb to $11MM based on the roster bonuses, $1MM for 90% playing time, $1MM for a Pro Bowl nod and $500K in weight incentives. Brown must stay under 380 pounds, Vic Tafur of The Athletic tweets.
  • Bills DE Mario Addison: $4.1MM base salary in 2021, $3.25MM of that is guaranteed, Matthew Fairburn of The Athletic tweets. Addison is also due a $1.9MM roster bonus. His contract will now void after 2021.
  • Colts T Sam Tevi: One year, $2.51MM. $1MM guaranteed, $1.5MM base salary. The deal also includes $1MM in playing-time incentives, Wilson tweets.

Details On Anthony Barr’s New Vikings Deal

Anthony Barr has agreed to a pay cut in exchange for a shorter contract. Now, the linebacker will make a fully guaranteed $9.4MM in 2021 — a, plus $500K in per-game roster bonuses and a $100K workout bonus (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero). 

Originally, Barr was set to make $12.9M this year with a deal running through 2023. Now, he’ll be eligible for free agency in March of 2022. In turn, the Vikings will clear $2.9MM in cap space.

Barr, who turns 29 this week, made the Pro Bowl every year between 2015 and 2018. However, a torn pec limited him to just two games last year and many believed that the Vikings would release him this offseason to gain some much-need cap space. Barr hasn’t been stellar on his five-year, $67.5MM contract, but he has an opportunity to cash in all over again. When healthy and at his best, the former No. 9 overall pick is among the best linebackers in the league.

Roughly two years ago today, Barr flip-flopped on the Jets to stay in Minnesota. The Jets then parlayed that money into an ill-fated deal with Le’Veon Bell.

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Vikings LB Anthony Barr To Take Pay-Cut, Become FA After 2021

It looks like the Vikings are close to making a major adjustment to Anthony Barr‘s contract. Minnesota and the veteran linebacker are working on a restructured deal that would see Barr reduce his $12.3MM salary for 2021, sources told Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

The Vikings will get some immediate cap relief, and in return Barr will enter free agency after this season. Previously Barr’s contract ran through 2023, so he’s about to get the last two years knocked off his pact. There had been some speculation that the team could move on this offseason due to his hefty cap hit, but this move will ensure he’s on the Vikings’ roster come Week 1 while also potentially setting things up for a divorce next offseason.

The ninth overall pick of the 2014 draft has been with Minnesota for all seven of his pro seasons. There’s been plenty of drama along the way, like when Barr agreed to sign with the Jets in March of 2019 before pulling out at the last second and returning to the Vikings. A separation has appeared likely several times, but they always have found a way to make things work.

Barr got a five-year, $67.5MM deal to stay last time. The UCLA product made the Pro Bowl four straight times from 2015-18, but only played in two games this past year due to a torn pec. He’ll turn 29 later this week.

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Vikings LB Anthony Barr Done For The Season

More tough news for the Vikings, as head coach Mike Zimmer announced Monday the team will be placing veteran linebacker Anthony Barr on injured reserve. He’s got a torn pec.

It’s the last thing this Minnesota team, which has looked awful through two games, needed. Since it’s a torn pec, Barr will be done for the season. The ninth overall pick of the 2014 draft, Barr has been with the Vikings his whole career. He’s one of the leaders of the defense, and made the Pro Bowl four straight seasons from 2015-18. In his absence, rookie fourth-round pick from Oregon Troy Dye will be counted on to play a more prominent role.

Luckily for Barr, he just locked himself into a huge contract last offseason. In March of 2019 it was reported he was leaving to sign a deal with the Jets, only for the UCLA product to change his mind at the last second and return to Minnesota on a five-year, $67.5MM contract.

Last season he had 79 tackles, 1.5 sacks, four passes defended, and an interception in 14 games. Minnesota’s usually stout defense has struggled mightily so far, and it’s not hard to see why with all the departures. Star pass-rusher Danielle Hunter is on injured reserve, and key defensive contributors like defensive tackle Linval Joseph, defensive end Everson Griffen, and cornerback Trae Waynes all left in free agency.

It’s looking like it could be a long year for Zimmer’s unit, and they’ll be significantly shorthanded for their pivotal Week 3 meeting with the Titans. Barr, who will turn 29 in March, is signed through the 2023 season.

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NFC North Notes: Packers, Lions, Vikings

Legendary Packers quarterback Bart Starr sadly passed away earlier this morning. Not long after the news broke, fellow legendary Packers quarterback Brett Favre posted a touching tribute to Twitter. “Bart Starr was the most kind, thoughtful and classiest person you could ever know. I consider myself extremely lucky to have called him friend and to have been mentioned in the same breath. Deanna and I are praying for Cherry and the Starr family,” his tweet read. Both Starr and Favre started in Green Bay for 16 seasons, and each etched their names in the record books. Current Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers also shared a photo of Starr on his Instagram account. From everyone at PFR, all of our thoughts are with the Starr family.

Here’s the latest from the NFC North:

  • The Lions were dealt a pretty big blow when starting guard T.J. Lang retired earlier this offseason. Lang only started six games this past season because of injury, but he was usually one of the league’s better guards when healthy. The Lions are looking to replace him next to left tackle Taylor Decker, and they have few options. While it’ll still be a competition, Tim Twentyman of the team’s official site thinks it’s Kenny Wiggins‘ “job to lose,” noting that Wiggins was taking the first-team reps during the first batch of OTAs. Wiggins started all 16 games for the Chargers in 2017, but was signed by Detroit initially to be a backup last year. He took over the starting gig once Lang went down, and it looks like he’s the favorite to retain the job on a full-time basis. He received poor grades from Pro Football Focus last season, grading out as their 59th-best guard, so it wouldn’t be surprising if someone pushes him in camp.
  • Anthony Barr is back in Minnesota, and he won’t be changing positions either. Barr famously agreed to a contract with the Jets back in March, before spurning them and returning to the Vikings. There was talk that he’d be moved to defensive end for the 2019 season, but Vikings coach Mike Zimmer declared “he’ll be a linebacker” when addressing the media recently, per Sid Hartman of the Star Tribune. Hartman writes there was some buzz about moving him to end in order to turn him into more of a pass-rusher, but it turned out not to be the case. Barr doesn’t usually get after the passer all that much, although he did have three sacks last season. If the Vikings really want their outside rush bolstered, they’ll need a strong return campaign from Everson Griffen, who had his 2018 season derailed by a bizarre off-field incident.
  • In case you missed it the Bears are doing some shuffling around of players, including moving James Daniels from guard to center, and Cody Whitehair from center to guard. Both players were starters last season.

Revisiting Anthony Barr’s Decision To Remain With Vikings

One of the biggest surprises of free agency this year came when linebacker Anthony Barr, who had agreed to sign with the Jets, suddenly reversed course and opted to re-sign with the Vikings for less money than he would have earned with Gang Green.

At the time the news broke, we knew only that Barr wanted to remain with Minnesota and that the Vikings had sweetened their offer to convince him to return. But in a lengthy and fascinating piece that is worth a full read, Courtney Cronin and Rich Cimini of ESPN.com detail exactly how Barr’s decision played out.

The ESPN scribes write that, when the legal tampering period opened on March 11, Barr had a few suitors, but the Jets quickly rose to the top of the list because of how much money they could offer. Barr had identified the Jets — who planned to capitalize on his athleticism as a blitzer and his ability to drop into coverage — as his top choice if he couldn’t remain with the Vikings. New York, which signed linebacker C.J. Mosley not long before Barr canceled his deal with the Jets, had every intention of bringing Mosley and Barr into the fold.

And as it turns out, New York’s offer was even higher than was initially reported. Per Cronin and Cimini, Barr’s agent, Ryan Williams, could tell that his client was very hesitant to accept the Jets’ pitch — in response to New York’s initial offers, Barr simply said, “where’s Minnesota?” — and Williams convinced the Jets to increase their offer to over $15MM per season, which Barr had indicated he would accept. But when Williams called Barr to tell him the Jets had met his asking price, Barr said, “I feel like I just made the worst mistake of my life.”

Barr did not want to back out of the Jets deal since he had given them his word, but Williams called Gang Green to let them know Barr was having second thoughts. Minnesota, meanwhile, was convinced it could not re-sign Barr because of its shortage of cap space, and rather than extending what it felt would be a disrespectful, low-ball offer, it stayed out of the sweepstakes entirely.

So the Vikings were very surprised to get a “frantic” call from Williams asking for the team’s best and final offer. Minnesota extended itself as far as it could go, the Jets offered to fly Barr out to New York to convince him to come to the Big Apple, and the decision was in Barr’s hands. Of course, he ultimately chose to accept Minnesota’s offer, and the excitement he felt when Williams told him he was back with the Vikings proves to him that he made the right choice.

Barr said, “I was trying to convince myself of something I knew that in my heart didn’t feel right, and I think if you follow the heart, I can live with the results.”

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Contract Details: Thomas, Barr, Peterson

Some assorted contract details from the around the NFL:

Anthony Barr Cancels Jets Deal, Re-Signs With Vikings

Anthony Barr won’t be signing with the Jets after all. The linebacker’s contract has been called off, according to Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (on Twitter). Instead, he’ll re-sign with the Vikings.

The Vikings gave Barr a five-year deal worth $67.5MM, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets, with $33MM of this pact being guaranteed. Incentives can raise Barr’s earnings to $77MM. 

This is pretty shocking news, as the contract with New York was reported as having been a done deal last night. His deal with the Jets was reportedly going to pay Barr over $14MM annually, so it sounds like he took slightly less to stay in Minnesota.

Manish Mehta of The New York Daily News tweets that the Vikings sweetened their initial offer, which helped sway Barr to change his mind. Barr’s desire to remain in Minnesota helped make up for the slight disparity between the two proposals, Mehta adds (on Twitter).

As for the money Barr did receive, it will make him the second-highest-paid off-ball linebacker in the game. The Jets’ C.J. Mosley deal tops the list, by a considerable margin. Both of this week’s deals set a new high bar for what had been a stagnant market, with Jamie Collins‘ 2017 Browns deal being non-rush linebackers’ high-water mark for nearly two years — prior to Cleveland cutting Collins.

While it certainly caught the Jets by surprise, it might not end up being all that bad for New York. Ian Rapoport of NFL Network tweets that the Jets have taken some of the money they were going to pay Barr, and used it to make “a last and final big offer to Le’Veon Bell.”

Rapoport writes that it’s now “decision time” for Bell, as the Jets appear to have made their final offer. The Jets have been saying for months they were going to be aggressive in free agency, and they’ve certainly delivered on that promise. The Jets have been the team most consistently linked to Bell, and they seem to be the frontrunner for his services as of now.

Barr has spent his entire five-year career with the Vikings, earning four Pro Bowl nods along the way, and had always maintained that he wanted to stay a Viking. The former first-rounder had another standout season in 2018, finishing with 55 tackles, three sacks, and one forced fumble. The Vikings ultimately decided to pass on franchising Barr, a move that would have cost $15.9MM.

This represents another major Vikings investment in their homegrown core, with Barr joining numerous defensive starters in being signed to long-term deals. This also figures to scratch a possible move to more of an edge-rushing role. The Jets were planning to incorporate more of Barr’s college-years edge work into their scheme, but with the Vikings, the five-year veteran has consistently worked as an off-ball linebacker. It appears he is comfortable in this role and will not be leaving the Twin Cities.

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