Despite what was considered a down season by Minnesota Vikings outside linebacker Anthony Barr, he will be going to the Pro Bowl as an injury replacement for Vic Beasley, Jr., who will be preparing for the Super Bowl.
Vikings coaches credited Barr with 61 solo tackles, third-most on the team, but head coach Mike Zimmer admitted that Barr wasn’t as good in 2016 as he was in 2015, with the “splash plays” significantly down.
“Sometimes guys have a little bit of a lull in their second year. It’s not like he’s done terrible, he just hasn’t made the explosive plays that he probably made a year ago,” Zimmer said in December.
“Anthony sometimes has a tendency to coast a little bit. I think when he cuts it loose a little bit more, because that’s when you see him making the explosive plays, the kind of wow plays.”
Barr admitted later that day that he wanted to see more from himself.
“Always. But it’s just the way things work out sometimes,” Barr said. “You can only do so much. You want to do your job, you want to make plays and sometimes they don’t come to you so you’ve got to make the ones that do.”
While Barr had only two sacks in 2016, his 20 QB hurries are a new career high for him and was the most among Vikings linebackers. Barr becomes the first Vikings linebacker to be selected to two Pro Bowls in his first three years in the league and the first to earn back-to-back selections since Chad Greenway (2011-12).
Barr joins DT Linval Joseph, DE Everson Griffen, CB Xavier Rhodes and S Harrison Smith as members of the Vikings defense to make the Pro Bowl. The defense finish in the top 10 in opponent yards allowed (314.9) and points allowed (19.2).
Cordarrelle Patterson also made the Pro Bowl as a kick returner.
The Pro Bowl will be played Sunday in Orlando, Fla.