Minnesota Vikings pick up Barr’s fifth-year option

The Minnesota Vikings will have Anthony Barr around for a couple years yet.

The Minnesota Vikings picked up the fifth-year option on linebacker Anthony Barr’s rookie contract, the team said Monday. According to CBS, the move pays Barr $12.3 million for 2018, the fifth year of his rookie contract.

That portion would be guaranteed for injury only, and the Vikings would have the option to sign Barr to extension before he reaches that number, which is about $3.5 million more than if Barr were selected outside of the top 10 draft picks in 2014 instead of ninth overall.

Barr said last week that he spent a lot of time reflecting on his 2016 season and believes he will be better in the future.

“I spent a lot of time with myself trying to figure things out in regards to what I need to do and what I need to be better at. It’s a long list,” he said. “I’m not going to tell you those, but it’s definitely where I have a lot to work on.”

As a rookie in 2014, Barr played in 12 games and had 99 tackles, four sacks, 13 quarterback hurries, two forced fumbles and three fumbles recovered. In 2015, he played in 14 games and had 80 tackles, 3½ sacks, 12 quarterback hurries and three forced fumbles. So, more games but a drop in production and those splash plays.

Last year, he started all 16 games and finished with 91 tackles, two sacks, 20 quarterback hurries, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

He said his 2016 season was filled with “a lot of ups and downs,” but one of the down moments was when head coach Mike Zimmer said Barr has a tendency to coast at times.

“It’s a lot of things. It’s not to pin it on one thing and say this is the reason for not playing well or whatever it was,” Barr said, “but I’m in a better place mentally, physically, and I’m just looking forward to getting back out there.”

The deadline to exercise fifth-year options for first-round picks in the 2014 draft is Tuesday, but the Vikings aren’t expected to do the same with injured quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who would cost $12.198 million.

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