Minnesota Vikings: Is Anthony Barr worth an extension?

Anthony Barr is entering the final season of his rookie contract with the Minnesota Vikings and would like to stay, but is he worth a big extension?

Prior to the NFC Championship Game, the Minnesota Vikings looked like a potential Super Bowl team. They boasted arguably the best defense in the NFL, had an offense that seemed to be clicking on all levels and were clearly well-coached with Mike Zimmer on the sidelines. Of course, the Philadelphia Eagles put an end to that run and earned the berth to the big game. Now, the Vikings head into an offseason with plenty of questions.

After Case Keenum led the Vikings to the conference title game, there are questions at quarterback as Keenum, Teddy Bridgewater and Sam Bradford could all be gone due to free agency (highly unlikely, but possible). However, a less pressing question resides on the other side of the ball.

In the 2015 season, the Vikings saw linebacker Anthony Barr break out. No matter the situation, Barr was an absolute stud for the Minnesota defense. Given his athletic profile and tools, it appeared that he was on the verge of superstardom. However, he followed that campaign up with an abysmal 2016 season. Thus, he had plenty to prove in 2017.

This past year as the Vikings enjoyed a great deal of success, Barr certainly improved from what he showed the previous season. With that said, though, he still wasn’t nearly at the level that he performed at in his second year in the league. There were highlight-level plays, sure, but there were also plenty of lapses.

Granted, Barr was a key cog in a great defense. One of the shining characteristics of the Vikings defense this season was the chemistry that they displayed as a unit. Removing Barr from that equation disrupts that. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t serious questions about him moving forward.

As Minnesota picked up his fifth-year option, the Vikings will pay Barr over $12 million next season. But the linebacker, per Pro Football Talk, is looking for an extension. He wants to get paid, but also noted that he loves playing with this team and in Minneapolis. With that said, though, the question must be asked if he’s worth paying big money for.

In terms of his potential, there’s no doubt that Barr is worth whatever you could pay him within reason. The issue, though, is that he’s fallen short of that potential over the past couple of seasons, even with improvement from his awful Year 3 in the league. Complicating things further, however, is the aforementioned chemistry. With such a vaunted defense, would the Vikings front office really want to disrupt what they have going on?

Truthfully, whether Barr is worth an extension depends on how much money they can ink him too annually. Because of what the defense means to this team as an entire unit and Barr’s athleticism being a part of that, he’s too valuable to let go without a fight. However, there is certainly a price point where the risk of him being an inconsistent player becomes too great. Thus, we’ll have to see how negotiations play out to ultimately make the decision of if he’s worth it or not.

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