The Minnesota Vikings will open the season without one of its key defenders as linebacker Anthony Barr is ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Barr is battling an undisclosed knee injury that knocked him out for most of training camp. Although he practiced for the first time since Aug. 5 on Wednesday, he was limited and did not practice on Thursday or Friday.
Barr has been out for nearly a full calendar year after tearing his pectoral muscle in Week 2 of the 2020 season. His absence puts more responsibility on free-agent pickup Nick Vigil, who spent last season with the Los Angeles Chargers.
Speaking to reporters on Friday, Mike Zimmer said that Vigil will wear the communication device to call plays for the defense and compared him to another former Vikings great.
"I told somebody the other day [Vigil] reminds me of Chad Greenway," Zimmer said. "He's really smart. He's conscientious about everything that he does. He was in the system when he was at Cincinnati a little bit ... but he's caught on fast and he's played well in the preseason."
The Vikings also ruled out offensive tackle Christian Darrisaw on their final injury report. The 23rd overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft has been nursing a groin injury that required a second surgery last month.
Darrisaw was a limited participant in practice this week but never was likely to play against the Bengals.
Rashod Hill has been starting in place of Darrisaw this preseason and allowed one sack on 30 pass-blocking snaps according to Pro Football Focus.
Hill will have a tough matchup, however, as he goes up against Trey Hendrickson. Hendrickson recorded 14.5 sacks with the New Orleans Saints this season and ranked third among qualifying edge rushers in PFF’s pass rusher productivity rating with 9.2 snaps per pressure.