All rumors need is one limited practice to get speculation free-flowing. But Vikings coach Mike Zimmer assured fans and media that holding Anthony Barr out of practice was for no reason other than to nurse a mild injury. He emphatically stated that despite Barr’s contract situation, the Vikings will not trade the star linebacker.
“Anthony is my guy, number one,” Zimmer said. “We are unequivocally not trying to trade Anthony. He’s my first draft pick we ever had with me. So there’s no truth whatsoever to that rumor.”
Rumors of Barr’s status with the team started Thursday after he sat out team drills. When asked about his non-participation, Barr was a bit curt with media, with some inferring bad blood between him and the Vikings. Zimmer indicated Friday that was not the case and he merely suffered a “tweak.” As a result, according to Zimmer, the coaches held him out for the day.
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Barr’s contract situation has been a point of discussion for the better part of year. He is due to make $12.3 million this season. Given his already-impressive resume and a possible push to increase his snaps as an edge rusher, Barr could pull a handsome raise come 2019 free agency. The problem, though it is good problem to be sure, stems from the Vikings’ moves this offseason. They have committed most of their cap over the next three years to most of their core, most recently Stefon Diggs. So while the Vikings have set themselves up for the long run, Barr has emerged as the odd man out. That is, unless they can pull off some creative cap maneuvering.
“I want him to get the best deal he can possibly get,” Zimmer said. “But selfishly I want him to be here too.”