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Barr, Griffen Recieve Defensive Honors


In a game in which the they knew they needed to show up to play defensively, a pair of young Vikings defenders within that aggressive front seven dominated. Everson Griffen, a 5 year veteran at defensive end and rising rookie phenom linebacker Anthony Barr were named the defensive player of month and the defensive player of the week for the NFC respectfully. With the Vikings offense play being inconsistent in the month of October, Head Coach Mike Zimmer knew that in order to be in games late their defense was going to have to step up.

Anthony Barr

(NFC Defensive Player of the Week)

When the Minnesota Vikings drafted Anthony Barr with the 9th pick in May’s draft, they knew they were getting a very aggressive and talented pass rusher with hopes of molding into a quality all around linebacker. However, through his first eight games of the year, Barr has exceeded expectations and proved to the NFL  that he is not only going to be a star but a feared defender in this league for years to come. The play that validates that statement so far would be the clutch play he made in overtime in the Tampa Bay game this past weekend. Barr displayed the potential to make game changing plays be stripping fellow rookie tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, scooping the ball and 27 yards later ending the game with a defensive touchdown. Not only did he have that game winning touchdown, but the rookie led all Vikings defenders in tackles with 8. On the season, Barr not only leads the team in tackles with 77, but that also leads all rookie in the NFL. He also leads all rookies in sacks with 3 and his 3 forced fumbles have him tied for the league lead with Texans superstar J.J. Watt. It has been a pleasant surprise to see Anthony Bar mature so quickly in his young career. With Mike Zimmer as his coach and that stout front four, Barr could be in for a great career in Minnesota.

Everson Griffen

(NFC Defensive Player of the Month)

After only registering two sacks in the first four games of the season, Vikings fans started to question whether or not Griffen was worth the $42.5 million contract the Vikings praised him with this offseason. (Which allowed Jared Allen to walk.) However, the month of October was Griffen month as he played like a man possessed and haunted quarterbacks. In his last four games, he has tallied 6 sacks, 17 tackles and a forced fumbled. Through eight games, Griffen has already matched his career high in sacks with 8. His 8 sacks are also third best in the NFL just two behind the leader Justin Houston of Kansas City. The big reason why Griffen is so appealing as a pass rusher is because of his freakish athleticism. If Griffen keeps on his monthly pace of sacks, he will have a good chance of breaking the NFL sack record. Overall, Griffen has done a good job in his first true season as an every down lineman after being primarily a pass rusher in his first four seasons and if his performance of this last month in any indication, he is beginning to come into his own as a player and as a leader for a young Vikings defense.

With a great deal of young defensive players in Barr, Floyd, Rhodes and Smith, along with veterans like Griffen steeping up, the Vikings defense has set a foundation as to how the it’s going to be shaped and executed for the seasons to come.  

Author Profile

Joshua Zimmer
Josh is the Big Ten analyst for NGSC Sports. With his extensive knowledge of the game, he will be keeping an eye on some of the conference's top NFL Draft prospects while also serving as the Gophers analyst. He also covers the NHL.

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