Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr has a torn pectoral muscle and will miss the remainder of the 2020 season, Mike Zimmer announced on Monday afternoon. He has been placed on injured reserve.
Barr suffered the injury early on in Sunday's loss to the Colts. He played just 16 snaps before being removed from the game – including staying in for one snap after getting hurt – and a potential return was quickly ruled out.
This is a tough loss for a Vikings defense that was already struggling mightily so far this season. When healthy, Barr plays every single snap and is a big part of the team's communication and defensive calls. The Vikings ask him to do a number of different things, from rushing the passer to playing the run and dropping into coverage.
"Anthony was our first draft pick that we’ve had when we came here," Zimmer said. "A big, integral part of the defense. Good leader, great guy. It’s tearing him up inside that he’s not going to be able to play but it is what it is and we’ve got to move on."
Now, the Vikings will need other players to step up alongside 2019 All-Pro Eric Kendricks. Eric Wilson was the No. 3 linebacker and moved into an every-down role after Barr went down, recording an interception for the team's first takeaway of the season. He'll likely remain a full-time starter going forward.
Next in line for snaps is fourth-round rookie Troy Dye. After Dye, the Vikings also have recent waiver claim Ryan Connelly. To fill Barr's roster spot, veteran Hardy Nickerson Jr. could be called up from the practice squad.
"I thought Troy came in and did some good things [on Sunday]," Zimmer said. "He had a couple missed tackles but he ran pretty well. Once Barr went out, it got a little confusing because Eric [Kendricks] was trying to get the calls from the headset and then make the calls and get guys lined up. So that got a little confusing. [Eric] Wilson did fine. We’ve still got a lot of things we have to work on with those guys but we anticipate that they’ll continue to get better."
The Vikings could also potentially look to sign a free agent linebacker to help with a sudden lack of depth. They're also without Ben Gedeon (PUP list) and Cameron Smith (out of the year while recovering from open-heart surgery).
After an 0-2 start in which the Vikings' defense allowed 71 points and nearly 900 yards to the Packers and Colts, losing Barr might make it difficult for things to get better. The Vikings host the 2-0 Titans in Week 3.
The Vikings' other roster move on Monday was signing DT Abdullah Anderson to the practice squad.
Make sure to bookmark this site and check back daily for the latest Vikings news and analysis. Also, click the follow button in the upper right-hand corner of this page (mobile users, tap the bell icon – you may have to click ‘News’ first), leave comments below, and follow me on Twitter.