Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr took the field Sunday for the first time in more than a year.
In Minnesota’s 19-17 win over Detroit at U.S. Bank Stadium, Barr returned after missing the first four games of the season due to a knee injury. He also had sat out the final 14 games last year because of shoulder surgery, and had not played in a game since Sept. 20, 2020 at Indianapolis.
“Just what he’s been through these past couple of years obviously with some injuries, and I know it meant a lot to him (being back),” Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen said. “It was special.”
Barr, who wore the defensive headset and was in the lineup throughout the game, was not made available after the game for comment. He was credited with four tackles.
After the game, a video surfaced of a most interesting postgame celebration involving Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins and coach Mike Zimmer.
Cousins grabbed Zimmer, who looked to be startled and pushed Cousins back. Zimmer wasn’t available after the game to discuss it; Cousins called it part of the victory celebration.
“Oh, I was just celebrating with him,” Cousins said. “I was just fired up.”
Vikings broadcaster Paul Allen tweeted out the video with the explanation, “Was told Kirk Hit Zimm with a ‘You like that?’ Don’t know what Mike said, but this was born of exasperation and excitement.”
The Vikings played without running back Dalvin Cook, who missed his second game out of the past three with a sprained right ankle, and nose tackle Michael Pierce, who has an elbow injury.
Alexander Mattison started for Cook and ran for a career-high 113 yards. Pierce was replaced by Armon Watts.
Pierce is regarded as a run stopper, and his absence didn’t help in that aspect. The Lions rushed for 48 yards in the first quarter but the Vikings eventually settled down and held Detroit to 108 yards rushing for the game.
“We need to realize how they’re trying to attack us initially,” linebacker Eric Kendricks said of the run defense. “First quarter preferably.”
Also inactive for Minnesota were receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette, who missed his second straight game with a toe injury, quarterback Kellen Mond, guard Wyatt Davis and defensive end Patrick Jones II.
After Sunday’s game, there was an obscene tweet from the @bree2Land6 account of Vikings cornerback Bashaud Breeland directed at Vikings fans for apparent recent criticism of him. The tweet was soon deleted. Breeland entered Sunday ranked No. 103 and last by Pro Football Focus among NFL cornerbacks. … Kendricks had a one-handed interception of a Jared Goff pass that he returned for 22 yards in the third quarter, stopping a Detroit drive. “I knew he couldn’t really see me,” Kendricks said of surprising Goff. … Lions rookie tight end Shane Zysltra, a Spicer, Minn., native who was waived Aug. 31 by the Vikings, made his NFL debut, playing on special teams after being elevated from the practice squad.