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Barr thriving for Vikes while bracing for Packer-fan hate

"You're responsible in a way for their guy going down, you're going to take some heat. It just comes with the territory."

Posted: Dec 21, 2017 6:47 AM

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) — Anthony Barr has scrolled through the social media hate messages directed at him from disgruntled fans of Aaron Rodgers and the Packers.

One of them even arrived in the mail .

When Barr and the Vikings visit Green Bay on Saturday night, the three-time Pro Bowl linebacker is bound to be the primary target of jeers at Lambeau Field. Barr, after all, delivered the hit that broke Rodgers' collarbone and sidelined him for nearly eight games, derailing a promising season for the Packers.

"It's inevitable. Aaron Rodgers is to Green Bay what LeBron is to Cleveland," Barr said. "You're responsible in a way for their guy going down, you're going to take some heat. It just comes with the territory."

No matter how profane or vile the sentiments on Instagram or Twitter, Barr has shrugged them off. That's befitting of his laid-back Los Angeles personality, a soft-spoken style that's a polar opposite of the strength, instinct and speed Barr has displayed on the field in Minnesota's dominant defense.

"He's having a great year. He's playing really good. He's been very active. He's on top of things. He makes a lot of checks for the defense," said coach Mike Zimmer, who helped make Barr the first draft pick of his tenure when the Vikings took him ninth overall out of UCLA in 2014.

With the athleticism of a running back that he started his college career as, Barr has represented the prototype for a linebacker in Zimmer's 4-3 scheme with the ability to blitz by the center, drop into coverage and roam from side to side in run support. He's third on the team with 84 tackles, eight for loss, according to statistics compiled from the coaching staff's film review.

"I didn't really know what to expect or where I was going to fit in, but I soon learned that there was a spot for me and that I could make an impact in different ways," Barr said, leaning his 6-foot-5, 255-pound frame back in a folding chair at team headquarters after a recent practice.

Smarts are another important asset.

"I'm very situationally aware," he said. "I feel like they've done a good job, the coaching staff and my teammates, of really easing the learning curve for me."

Near the end of the 2016 season that was a disappointment for most everyone in purple, Zimmer said Barr sometimes had a "tendency to coast a little bit." Perhaps that was simply part of the Southern California cool he carries, but the comment from the coach served as motivation for Barr to raise his performance in 2017.

Off the field, he's plenty inspired, too.

His mother, Lori Barr, is the engineer of the fledgling Raise The Barr foundation, which is designed to support single moms with college scholarships and day-care assistance, among other benefits. The focus is on applicants from California and Minnesota, for now. The goal is to one day spread the program nationally.

"You see these people and think we were once in their shoes. It just reminds you of where you came from and how you got to where you are," Barr said. "It just makes you appreciate everything that's come your way."

Barr's father is Tony Brooks , once a star running back at Notre Dame. He and Lori dated while they were in college, and Anthony was born the month before Brooks went to the Philadelphia Eagles in the fourth round of the 1992 NFL draft. They eventually broke up, though, and the Barrs moved to California to be near family.

Lori worked as a waitress to help continue her higher education, all the while raising Anthony on her own. She finished her degree, became a counselor and, later, a school principal. Anthony still tries to check in with Brooks from time to time, but they've never had a close relationship.

"My mom's been an educator almost her whole life and is a very selfless person," Barr said, reflecting on the impetus for starting his foundation last year. "I have a lot of those qualities, too."

Raise The Barr has reached double digits in scholarship awards.

"We do feel like education is the benchmark to breaking the cycle of poverty," Barr said. "Education is knowledge is power, as cliche as it sounds."

Rodgers won't have the opportunity for revenge on Saturday night, because he's been placed back on injured reserve with the Packers eliminated from postseason contention. Brett Hundley will start instead , with the NFC North champion Vikings (11-3) chasing a first-round bye for the playoffs.

The fans might not have forgotten Barr's takedown of Rodgers to the U.S. Bank Stadium turf on Oct. 15, but the Packers haven't exactly been dwelling on it more than two months later.

"It's football. You take hits like that, and things happen," Packers linebacker Nick Perry said. "You can't control those things."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 604608

Reported Deaths: 7642
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1249941780
Ramsey52516897
Dakota46848471
Anoka42782458
Washington27433291
Stearns22559225
St. Louis18142313
Scott17552137
Wright16382149
Olmsted13401102
Sherburne1202495
Carver1067548
Clay826492
Rice8203110
Blue Earth762644
Crow Wing681795
Kandiyohi668185
Chisago620052
Otter Tail586284
Benton582998
Goodhue483974
Douglas475681
Mower470533
Winona461351
Itasca459963
Isanti440164
McLeod430861
Morrison424862
Beltrami407862
Nobles407550
Steele397816
Polk389072
Becker386755
Lyon363853
Carlton353056
Freeborn347133
Pine334923
Nicollet331345
Mille Lacs311854
Brown307940
Le Sueur297326
Cass286232
Todd285633
Meeker263443
Waseca238023
Martin235333
Roseau211221
Wabasha20793
Hubbard196641
Dodge18793
Renville182846
Redwood176539
Houston174616
Cottonwood167124
Wadena163423
Fillmore157610
Faribault154819
Chippewa154038
Pennington153820
Kanabec146828
Sibley146810
Aitkin138937
Watonwan13579
Rock128719
Jackson122812
Pipestone116726
Yellow Medicine115020
Pope11306
Murray107110
Swift106918
Koochiching95418
Stevens92411
Clearwater89016
Marshall88817
Lake83220
Wilkin83213
Lac qui Parle75622
Big Stone6044
Grant5948
Lincoln5853
Mahnomen5669
Norman5479
Kittson49022
Unassigned48293
Red Lake4017
Traverse3775
Lake of the Woods3453
Cook1720

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 371146

Reported Deaths: 6053
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk58273640
Linn21228339
Scott20310248
Black Hawk16167312
Woodbury15241230
Johnson1462385
Dubuque13512211
Dallas1128999
Pottawattamie11229174
Story1071648
Warren584091
Clinton561593
Cerro Gordo554095
Sioux517674
Webster516094
Muscatine4884106
Marshall486876
Des Moines467572
Wapello4338122
Buena Vista426940
Jasper421172
Plymouth403181
Lee382356
Marion366076
Jones301057
Henry294537
Bremer288661
Carroll287152
Boone268634
Crawford268140
Benton259955
Washington257351
Dickinson249344
Mahaska232751
Jackson225242
Clay216727
Kossuth216166
Tama212071
Delaware211143
Winneshiek198835
Page194522
Buchanan194133
Cedar192323
Hardin187544
Fayette186743
Wright186040
Hamilton181951
Harrison180073
Clayton171157
Butler166335
Madison164619
Mills163724
Floyd163442
Cherokee159338
Lyon158841
Poweshiek157136
Allamakee152852
Hancock150334
Iowa149824
Winnebago144531
Cass139255
Calhoun138913
Grundy137333
Emmet135841
Jefferson133535
Shelby131737
Sac130920
Union130035
Louisa129749
Appanoose129049
Mitchell126643
Chickasaw124917
Franklin123523
Guthrie123332
Humboldt119626
Palo Alto113623
Howard105022
Montgomery103638
Clarke100924
Keokuk96832
Monroe96431
Unassigned9530
Ida91535
Adair87332
Pocahontas85822
Davis85225
Monona83131
Osceola78916
Greene78011
Lucas77923
Worth7618
Taylor66812
Fremont6269
Decatur6169
Ringgold56424
Van Buren56318
Wayne54423
Audubon53311
Adams3444
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