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Minicamp report: Barr is back on the field for Vikings


The Sports Xchange

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — It’s only a June minicamp, but the Minnesota Vikings defense always looks a whole lot better when No. 55 is on the field.

Linebacker Anthony Barr, whose 2014 season was cut short right as it was beginning to soar to potential rookie-of-the-year honors late last season, participated in individual drills as camp opened on Tuesday.

Barr sat out team drills, but was still excited to strap on a helmet for the first time in about six months.

“I did the first 30 minutes of practice; more than I have done obviously this entire offseason,” Barr said. “It felt good to be out there.”

A knee injury forced Barr onto injured reserve in November after he posted 70 tackles, four sacks, two forced fumbles and an overtime fumble return for a touchdown at Tampa Bay.

But that injury healed and was replaced by something else that has sidelined last year’s ninth overall draft pick.

As for the nature of his new injury, well, Vikings coach Mike Zimmer has locked everybody’s lips to make sure it stays in-house.

“He’s got to get back to playing,” Zimmer said. “He hasn’t really done football in a long time. So it’s good for him to get back out here and start moving around and getting with the calls. I mean, I don’t anticipate any problems. I just think it’s good for his mindset. And good for ours as well.”

–Meanwhile, two other starters, left defensive end Brian Robison and right tackle Phil Loadholt, remain sidelined because of pectoral injuries.

Loadholt was placed on injured reserve after surgery late last season, while Robison has been held out of OTAs and minicamp as more of a precaution after injuring himself while lifting weights last month.

Loadholt is expected to be ready in time for training camp next month.

As for Robison, it appears as though he might start training camp on the physically unable to perform list. At 32, the team knows what it has with him and figures it won’t take him anywhere close to five preseason games — including the extra Hall of Fame game — to get ready.

“We’ll just see how it goes,” Robison said. “Obviously I got to be smart with it. But at the end of the day, I plan on being there, plan on getting back on the field as quick as possible.”

–The Vikings sure are making sure first-round draft pick Trae Waynes earns his spot in the starting lineup.

Even with cornerbacks Josh Robinson and Captain Munnerlyn sidelined because of injuries on Tuesday, Waynes still worked with the second unit.

And he did so mostly as the nickel slot back, which is a role he’s not accustomed to.

“It’s a new experience, but I’m here to learn and get better,” Waynes said. “It’s been good.”

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