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Barr returns to practice from injury, says he's way ahead of last year

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Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr returned to practice Tuesday during the team's first day of a mandatory minicamp. Barr was limited to individual drills as he returns from a knee injury, but the second-year pro doesn't think it'll hold him back.

Despite missing the majority of the 11-on-11 work in the Vikings' offseason program, Barr is ahead of last year in one respect. A year ago, he was finishing his classes at UCLA until just before Vikings training camp.

At least on Tuesday, Barr was able to participate in some of the individual drills.

"We've talked about some [changes], and we'll probably start practicing it a little more once training camp starts," Barr told ESPN Tuesday. "I'm excited. I feel a lot more comfortable than I did at this time last year. I kind of understand what my role is, and what I'm asked to do."

Barr had a solid rookie year, making 70 tackles in 12 games before his season was shortened by a knee injury.

Pro Football Talk notes that Barr's latest injury is different from the one that cut short his promising rookie season. Neither Barr nor Vikings coach Mike Zimmer are willing to say much about the injury publicly, but the Vikings hope a healthy Barr can be a big playmaker on the defensive side of the ball.

"I think he can be a huge weapon," said Vikings defensive end Brian Robison to reporters Tuesday. "Obviously he can rush off the edge, drop into coverage, he can play the run, he's a guy who can get out there and do everything."

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