Linebacker Anthony Barr is Vikings’ nominee for NFL Man of the Year Award
Vikings activate Patrick Peterson off COVID list
After Anthony Barr was named on Tuesday the Vikings’ nominee for the NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, it was appropriate that fellow linebacker Eric Kendricks introduced him at a news conference.
Not only was Kendricks last year’s nominee for the award, which is based upon community service, he was Barr’s roommate at UCLA, and the two have been Minnesota teammates since 2015.
“I’d like to present this award to one of my good friends, Anthony Barr, who pushes me to do better in the community,’’ Kendricks said.
Barr was the first draft choice after Mike Zimmer took over as Minnesota’s coach in 2014, going with No. 9 pick in the first round out of UCLA. Since entering the NFL, Barr has been very active in the community in the Twin Cities and in his hometown of Los Angeles with the Raise the Barr program, which helps increase the economic mobility for single-parent students. It was founded in 2016 by Barr and his mother, Lori Barr, who raised her son as a single mother.
“It’s a big honor,’’ Barr said. “Obviously, community work has been a big part of my life for a long time. And the Raise the Barr is kind of built on the story of my mom and myself. She’s a huge inspiration to me in my life. … So humbled and honored.’’
Each of the 32 NFL teams nominated one player for the Man of the Year Award, and the winner will be announced Feb. 10, 2022 at NFL Honors in Inglewood, Calif., three days before Super Bowl LVI is there at SoFi Stadium.
“It definitely caught me by surprise, but this isn’t really a reward about myself, it’s really more so the community, the families that we help and our story that has inspired so much,’’ Barr said about being nominated the first time for the award.
Barr has excelled both on and off the field since joining the Vikings. He has been named to four Pro Bowls.
“He was my first draft pick and he’s an unbelievable person, number one,’’ Zimmer said. “He’s got a great family. His foundation does terrific things for the community and for single moms. … And he’s a good player.’’
Vikings activate Peterson
After playing without five top defensive starters last Sunday at Detroit, the Vikings are expected to have three of them back for Thursday’s game against Pittsburgh.
The Vikings activated cornerback Patrick Peterson off the COVID-19 reserve list Tuesday, and he is expected to play against the Steelers at U.S. Bank Stadium after sitting out the stunning 29-27 loss to the Lions. And linebackers Barr (hamstring) and Eric Kendricks (biceps) were both full participants in practice Tuesday after having missed the Detroit game.
“I’ll be playing,” Barr said before the workout.
The Vikings will continue on Thursday to be without defensive ends Danielle Hunter (out for the season with a shoulder injury) and Everson Griffen (on the non-football injury list).
On offense, it has been anticipated that running back Dalvin Cook wouldn’t be ready to face the Steelers after suffering a shoulder injury Nov. 28 at San Francisco. But Cook, who sat out against the Lions, was listed as a limited participant in practice Tuesday after sitting out Monday’s workout.
Wide receiver Adam Thielen (ankle), who was hurt in the first quarter against the Lions, and tackle Christian Darrisaw, who missed that game after being injured against the 49ers, did not practice Tuesday for a second straight day and are not expected to play against Pittsburgh. Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said that Thielen’s high left ankle sprain won’t end his season.
“He’s moving around a little bit,” Zimmer said.
With Darrisaw still hurt, the Vikings could start for the second straight game an offensive line with Oli Udoh at left tackle, Ezra Cleveland at left guard, Garrett Bradbury at center, Mason Cole at right guard and Brian O’Neill at right tackle.
In addition to Cook, listed as limited Tuesday were safety Camryn Bynum (ankle), who has missed the past two games, and linebacker Blake Lynch (hip), who sat out Monday’s walkthrough practice. Barr and Kendricks both were listed Monday as limited.
“It sucks to put it simply,” Barr said of sitting out against Detroit. “I feel like I was playing pretty good up until I tweaked it against the 49ers. So it’s one of those things where I have to figure out how to stay healthy and get back on the field.”
On Thursday, though, the Vikings are expected to have some key defenders back.
“It’s a blessing to be able to have, at this point of the (season), have most of your guys back,” said safety Xavier Woods.
Former Vikings nose tackle Pat Williams said his son, Wossman (La.) High School wide receiver Pat Willams II has received an offer to walk on at the University of Minnesota, but he is still weighing scholarship offers from smaller schools. The elder Williams is the defensive line coach at Wossman, his alma mater. … The Vikings protected on the practice squad defensive end Kenny Willekes, safety Myles Dorn and cornerback Tye Smith.