Already owning one of the strongest defensive lines in the league Cheap Rashaan Evans Jersey , the Minnesota Vikings have made another addition to their front four this summer.
He even was a former first-round draft pick.
Anthony Barr has established his place as the strong side linebacker, an integral part of coach Mike Zimmer’s pressure-driven scheme. This switch is not by any means complete or permanent, considering the value Barr has given the Vikings while rarely missing a snap in the middle of the defense with former college teammate Eric Kendricks. With Brian Robison capably spelling Everson Griffen and Danielle Hunter at the defensive end spots, there’s not a glaring need for one.
Sliding Barr and his athleticism and speed to the front, though, provides yet another way Zimmer and the Vikings can attack an offense.
”Definitely, it could be a change-up for us,” Barr said. ”Hopefully I can get a couple more opportunities to do that, and we’ll see where it goes. It’s something I’m going to continue to work on and get better at. I’m excited for it.”
The Vikings have used passing-situation packages this offseason that include cornerback Terence Newman at safety while making Harrison Smith a hybrid linebacker. Put Barr at defensive end, and Everson Griffen can move inside. Or Barr could simply line up as a fifth down lineman. Either way, that’s the potential for quite the fierce pass rush.
”We are just trying to utilize our guys the best way we can,” Zimmer said. ”If a guy has a skill set of being possibly a pass rusher Reuben Foster Jersey Youth , then we’re going to look at him and see if he can be a pass rusher. If a guy’s a great inside cover guy, then we’re going to try and look at him there.”
Barr has taken plenty of turns with the defensive linemen during individual drills in training camp so far, evidence that this is more than just a token experiment.
”It’s a conscious effort in getting him into rush situations where he knows what to do,” Zimmer said. ”I really don’t have any concerns when he’s rushing on a back, but sometimes when he gets on a bigger stronger guy and gets in certain positions, he has to know what to do.”
Barr was the first player the Vikings drafted after hiring Zimmer in 2014, the ninth overall selection out of UCLA who spent only two years with the Bruins on defense after beginning his college career as a running back. With 10 sacks, six forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries and one interception over four seasons, Barr has left himself plenty of room to improve on such modest statistics. There are many more ways to contribute than those basic measurements, of course, but Zimmer’s matter-of-fact assessment in 2016 that Barr ”has a tendency to coast a little bit” still hovers over his trajectory.
Across the NFL Cheap Russell Bodine Jersey , Barr is known mostly for his hit on Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers in the sixth game of the year that led to a broken collarbone and set the NFC North rivals on opposite courses in 2017. Interestingly, referee Pete Morelli told reporters at Minnesota’s practice facility on Thursday that the league’s stricter rules about targeting defenseless players would now make that play a 15-yard penalty.
Barr is the only core player left on an expiring contract, with extensions recently signed by wide receiver Stefon Diggs, defensive end Danielle Hunter and Kendricks. Barr’s salary for 2018 is a little more than $12.3 million, and he hinted at disappointment when spring practices began without a new deal. He didn’t address the subject in his first remarks to reporters at training camp.
”My focus is here at camp, getting better with the team, and we’ll let that figure itself out,” he said.
If this defensive end thing works well, Barr’s price will only go higher.
”I’ll never talk business out in the open or in public,” general manager Rick Spielman said. ”I’ll just tell you he fits everything that we want as a Minnesota Viking.”
The bottom line does not tell the story of Michael Fulmer’s last start.
The Detroit Tigers right-hander overpowered the Cincinnati Reds for 5 2/3 innings on June 20, holding them scoreless while striking out nine.
Fulmer then gave up back-to-back homers on what he felt were well-located sliders. Scooter Gennett, who badly missed a Fulmer slider earlier in the at-bat Adidas Tuukka Rask Jersey , golfed a two-run shot over the right-field wall. Eugenio Suarez followed with a blast over the left-field wall.
Fulmer wound up with his sixth loss of the season.
He’ll hope for some better luck in a Thursday matinee against the Oakland Athletics.
The Tigers will be trying to break an eight-game losing streak after dropping the first three games of the series while Oakland will attempt to get its first four-game sweep of Detroit since 2001.
“Last start, everything was kind of on cruise control and then Gennett hit a good pitch out,” Fulmer said. “But people don’t see the pitch, they see the results. They look at the linescore and that’s it.
“They don’t see that my fastball velo is up, my sinker’s moving more, my slider has been a lot sharper as of late,” Fulmer continued. “That’s the problem fr om a player’s standpoint and a spectator’s standpoint. ‘Oh, he gave up two home runs in one inning last start, it wasn’t a very good start.’ Don’t worry about the other five innings wh ere I did really well. Sometimes, people don’t think just to give the hitters credit.”
Fulmer (3-6, 4.17 ERA) limited Minnesota and Cleveland to one run in seven innings in each of his previous two outings. He’s throwing as hard as ever, with his four-seamer and sinker averaging over 97 mph this month.
Other than his changeup being a little faster than he’d like Markus Wheaton Jersey Elite , Fulmer believes he’s in top form.
“I’m not frustrated with the way I pitched or my stuff,” said Fulmer, who is 2-0 with an 0.57 ERA in two career starts against Oakland. “I’m frustrated with the results and that’s the way it’s kind of been for me so far this season. I’m still very positive. I still trust everything, I feel like we’re very close to being dominant for a full game.”
The Tigers could certainly use one of those outings.
Left-hander Sean Manaea (7-6, 3.40 ERA) will oppose Fulmer after having his scheduled start pushed back a day. He has delivered three consecutive quality starts following a rough patch in May. Manaea allowed four or more earned runs in five of his six May starts but he’s held opponents to a combined six runs in his last three outings.
“I was trying to be too perfect and it was causing me to overthink things,” he said. “Now, I’m trying to keep things simple.”
Manaea has walked just one batter in those three starts while collecting 17 strikeouts. He held the Chicago White Sox to one run on five hits in seven innings during his last start. He lost his only career start against Detroit while giving up three runs in six innings.
Oakland’s streak of hitting a homer in 27 consecutive road games, a major league record, ended on Wednesday but it still came away with a 3-0 victory. Jed Lowrie has seven hits in the series, including two homers and two doubles.
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