It’s been 368 days since Minnesota Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr last played in an NFL game.
Barr, 29, recovering from a torn pectoral muscle he sustained a year ago, was optimistic about his return during the preseason. But a knee injury he picked up during training camp has deferred his plans so far in 2021.
Barr has been a mainstay on the Vikings’ injury reports this season, taking his recovery “day-by-day.”
Still iffy on his return this Sunday when the Vikings host the Seattle Seahawks in their season opener, Barr did offer insight into his recovery process.
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‘The Worst is Behind Me’
Barr revealed in a press conference on Thursday that his limited participation in practice over the past few weeks was a matter of checking in with his health.
“I put a lot of pressure on myself to be ready by the beginning of the season, so when I practiced a couple weeks ago and then didn’t practice the next day, that was just me testing to see where I was,” Barr said. “I wasn’t necessarily ready to get back on the field.”
He was uncertain about his status on Sunday, explaining he wants to be in a good condition upon returning to play.
“I’d love nothing more than to be playing, but it’s something that I want to make sure I’m 100%,” Barr added. “I think I owe it to myself and to the team to not put myself out there if I’m not going to be at full speed. But I feel like I’m approaching that point.”
Despite admitting struggling with injuries and his mental health during his lengthy absence, Barr believes the worst days are behind him.
It sucked,” Barr said on missing over a year of action. “I think you just got to play the hand you’re dealt. I think the worst is behind me, which feels good. Just got to continue to move forward, progress and stack these good days.”
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Barr Doesn’t Deny Being on a Snap Count Upon Return
Barr declined to offer any injury details, but he said he hasn’t had any setbacks.
However, he is behind in his conditioning, which could take time to build up during the season. He said there would be a plan once he is ready to return to the playing field.
If that day happens to come this week, Vikings fans will welcome Barr and the rest of the team for the first game in U.S. Bank Stadium since 2019.
“We all anticipate it being obnoxiously loud,” Barr said. “That’s kinda what we’re hoping. We draw a lot of energy from our home crowd. On third downs, that’s when they’re at their loudest and that’s when we need them the most. Hopefully, that’s the case.”