While former Minnesota Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr is racking up whole humanitarian achievements, the 30-year-old remains a free agent.
Barr seemed to say farewell to Vikings fans via Instagram when the 2021 regular season ended, but he did not sign with another team this offseason. Accordingly, Barr has been whispered in the rumor mills of the Arizona Cardinals, Dallas Cowboys, and New York Jets.
Back in May, ESPN’s Bill Barnwell predicted Barr would eventually join the Cowboys, stating, “Barr and Leighton Vander Esch would each be leverage against the other’s injury history, and senior Cowboys defensive assistant George Edwards served as Barr’s defensive coordinator between 2014 and 2019.”
In a similar article a few weeks after the Barnwell piece, ESPN again linked Barr to the Cowboys, this time by Matt Bowen, who explained Barr to the Cowboys, “While I don’t see high-level impact ability with Barr at this stage of his career, he can be schemed-up in Quinn’s defense as a blitzer, and we know he has the ability to match/carry underneath in coverage.”
Now, Bleacher Report has joined the fun, forecasting Barr to Dallas in an article about landing spots for the league’s premier remaining free agents. Alex Kay from Bleacher Report said about a possible Barr relationship with the Cowboys, “While picking up a player like Barr, who has availability concerns of his own, may inject more risk into an already shaky linebacking corps. However, the potential of Barr returning to form makes the risk worth it, especially if they can get the 30-year-old on a cheap deal.”
Of note: in the same article, Kay also predicted the Vikings would sign center JC Tretter from the Cleveland Browns, a request by Vikings fans for about three months.
Barr would indeed jive with the Cowboys linebacking corps featuring the otherworldly Micah Parsons and steady Leighton Vander Esch. And, per Vikings faithful, using Barr as a more prominent pass rusher would have been a wise idea, so perhaps Dallas could unlock that skillset from Barr.
Mystery shrouds Barr’s free agency. When players were free to sign anywhere in March, Barr was theorized as a candidate to land somewhere. Alas, he did not, leading some Vikings media personalities to question Barr’s injury outlook. Perhaps persistent injuries had caught up with the former Bruin.
Barr was often the glue for Mike Zimmer’s defense in Minnesota, evidenced in 2020 when the defense plunged to Hades without him. Since the start of 2020, Barr has missed 63% of all football games, substantiating the theory that injuries have taken a toll.
He tallied a 62.9 grade from Pro Football Focus and somehow intercepted three passes. If 2021 was a reasonable indicator, Barr can still play at a high level.
With the Vikings, Barr recorded four Pro Bowl trips, earned two All-Pro distinctions, and posted 495 total tackles, plus 17.5 sacks and five interceptions in eight seasons.
If he does not retire and ultimately signs with the Cowboys, he’d face the Vikings on November 20th at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).