After rookie minicamp, NFL rule forces Anthony Barr back to school
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. - Anthony Barr has three days to learn as much as he can before Minnesota's top draft pick goes back to school.
Barr, the No. 9 overall pick, joined the Vikings' nine other draft picks and a handful of practice squad players, tryout guys and 16 undrafted free agent signings in the first day of a three-day rookie minicamp on Friday.
Since he'll miss most of the team's Organized Team Activities in late May and early June, the Vikings have a schedule drawn up that Barr won't receive until Sunday, which is when he takes part in his final day of minicamp and leaves to finish his degree at UCLA.
"You know, it's hard for me to judge how much it's going to set him back," coach Mike Zimmer said. "He was pretty good out there this morning, with the reads and the alignments and all the different things."
On top of an already-shortened offseason due to a May NFL Draft, three of the Vikings' top five selections will be forced to go without another month of in-person preparation.
Along with third-round selection Scott Crichton (Oregon St.) and fifth-round pick David Yankey (Stanford), Barr is part of a trio that are forced to return to school since it's still in session on the quarter system.
The NFL rule, created with encouragement of the American Football Coaches Association in 1990, limits players to a single minicamp with his professional team while college is still in session.
"Yeah, it kind of sucks," Barr said. "Hopefully I can learn and hopefully they'll continue to send me stuff, send me film. It's going to be more mental than physical, really. So when I get to camp, I can get my feet on the ground and just roll."
Just as when Andrew Luck had a similar situation in the spring of 2012, the Vikings will visit their rookies out west - but can't conduct on-field workouts - in the month that Barr, Yankey and Crichton need to finish out their college careers.
"The guys that we drafted that are on the quarters system, the biggest thing is, really, the techniques," Zimmer said. "I want them to learn how we're lifting, how we approach the different techniques, the different coverages part of things. And then the offensive line, with Yankey, more about the techniques with him, play calls, the terminology, things like that -- things they can take and go back to their schools and work on. The other guys will be here, so it's not difficult."
Vikings linebackers coach Adam Zimmer will likely fly out to visit Barr, "as much as he possibly can," Barr said. While it's likely offensive line coach Jeff Davidson could jet to California's Bay Area and visit Yankey, who was teammates with Davidson's son, Nick, on the Cardinal.
Crichton said the team's got a plan for him to chat via Skype with defensive line coach Andre Patterson as much as he can, while all three players are responsible for keeping up to speed on their iPads, studying the playbook and film.
"Coaches will go out there and spend time with them, watch tape with them," Zimmer said. "We'll give them a list of things that we think they need after this weekend, what we think they need to improve on in order to catch up to the other guys."