STREAMING NOW: Watch Now
CLOSINGS: View Closings

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: 289303

Reported Deaths: 3434
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin616511100
Ramsey25903487
Anoka20522218
Dakota20096183
Washington13066109
Stearns1291098
St. Louis7935101
Scott782754
Wright702436
Olmsted626134
Sherburne538640
Clay463856
Carver432213
Blue Earth387112
Rice386033
Kandiyohi373819
Crow Wing334631
Nobles298729
Chisago29358
Otter Tail282818
Benton278642
Winona258128
Mower241323
Douglas237631
Polk234423
Morrison219524
Lyon201911
McLeod195610
Beltrami194615
Becker187512
Goodhue185727
Steele17826
Itasca176124
Isanti174316
Todd171612
Carlton165710
Nicollet150823
Freeborn14465
Mille Lacs141630
Le Sueur138110
Waseca134011
Cass12849
Brown125011
Pine12458
Meeker11308
Roseau10503
Hubbard103822
Martin101920
Wabasha9611
Redwood83718
Dodge8060
Chippewa8057
Watonwan7984
Cottonwood7682
Renville75119
Sibley7414
Wadena7376
Aitkin69826
Rock6829
Pipestone67818
Houston6422
Fillmore6320
Yellow Medicine59311
Pennington5856
Kanabec54912
Murray5493
Swift5366
Faribault5081
Pope4990
Stevens4643
Clearwater4536
Marshall4438
Jackson4361
Unassigned38759
Lake3816
Koochiching3535
Wilkin3465
Lac qui Parle3383
Norman3227
Lincoln3171
Big Stone2841
Mahnomen2704
Grant2516
Red Lake2033
Kittson1917
Traverse1360
Lake of the Woods931
Cook600

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 222064

Reported Deaths: 2319
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk33019331
Linn13877164
Scott1085683
Black Hawk10730134
Woodbury10159121
Johnson935536
Dubuque907691
Story669721
Dallas624657
Pottawattamie612469
Sioux364625
Webster353033
Marshall343545
Cerro Gordo342644
Clinton319839
Buena Vista300014
Des Moines281719
Muscatine280968
Warren274011
Plymouth268941
Wapello251171
Jones227913
Jasper212443
Marion201719
Lee197916
Carroll195422
Bremer191312
Henry18037
Crawford173015
Benton166217
Tama152240
Jackson142113
Delaware140221
Washington137414
Dickinson134210
Boone134011
Mahaska125327
Wright12156
Buchanan115010
Clay11314
Hardin113010
Page11134
Hamilton10809
Clayton10715
Harrison106129
Cedar104913
Calhoun10487
Kossuth10236
Floyd102216
Mills10177
Fayette10159
Lyon10058
Poweshiek97913
Butler9746
Winneshiek95412
Iowa92312
Winnebago90223
Hancock8497
Louisa83916
Grundy83811
Chickasaw8354
Sac8297
Cherokee8134
Cass79721
Appanoose77310
Mitchell7704
Allamakee76811
Union7546
Humboldt7525
Shelby75010
Emmet74724
Guthrie73715
Franklin72921
Jefferson6852
Madison6734
Palo Alto6454
Unassigned6320
Keokuk5737
Pocahontas5532
Howard5419
Greene5160
Osceola5131
Clarke4774
Ida46813
Taylor4563
Davis4508
Montgomery44911
Monroe43712
Adair4298
Monona4212
Fremont3543
Van Buren3525
Worth3520
Lucas3216
Decatur3150
Wayne2957
Audubon2942
Ringgold2022
Adams1642
Rochester
Clear
31° wxIcon
Hi: 36° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 22°
Mason City
Clear
30° wxIcon
Hi: 38° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 24°
Albert Lea
Clear
34° wxIcon
Hi: 37° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 34°
Austin
Clear
34° wxIcon
Hi: 37° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 30°
Charles City
Clear
32° wxIcon
Hi: 37° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 26°
A Sunny and Mild Saturday Expected
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Community Events