Anthony Barr returned to practice today for the first time since a knee injury prematurely ended his season last November. While Barr was only able to participate in individual drills, coach Mike Zimmer thinks it is important that Barr got back on the field during this week’s minicamp.
“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.”
Barr injured his knee in the team’s win over the Panthers in late November. After sitting out three games, Barr was placed on injured reserve prior to the season finale, officially ending his promising rookie campaign.
Both Zimmer and Barr have been mum about the nature of his current injury, but Zimmer has said it’s not the same knee that had sidelined him.
While the Vikings got good news with Barr’s return, the status quo remains with offensive tackle Phil Loadholt and defensive end Brian Robison, who continue to be held out of team drills due to pectoral injuries.
Loadholt, who tore his pectoral in November, is expected to be ready to roll by training camp. But Robison, who injured his earlier this spring, said today that he isn’t sure if he will be a full-go by the start of camp.
“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. We’re just going to take it day by day and keep going as we’re going.”
Cornerbacks Captain Munnerlyn (foot) and Josh Robinson (undisclosed) did not practice today. Neither did fellow cornerback DeMarcus Van Dyke and linebackers Michael Mauti and Casey Matthews (all undisclosed, too).
“We’d obviously like to have everybody out here for practice all the time but it’s really not possible with some of the guys at this point,” Zimmer said.
The Cardinals have been one of MLB’s model franchises over the past 15 years, reaching the World Series four times since 2000 and winning two championships.
This year, St. Louis has the best record in baseball — humming along at 42-21, an absurd 108-win pace that includes a 3-2 victory over the Twins on Monday.
But according to a New York Times report on Tuesday, the Cardinals could be at the heart of a cheating scandal that would put make anything done by another of the sporting world’s most successful franchises — the NFL’s Patriots — pale in comparison.
Per the Times:
The F.B.I and Justice Department prosecutors are investigating whether front-office officials for the St. Louis Cardinals … hacked into internal networks of a rival team to steal closely guarded information about player personnel. Investigators have uncovered evidence that Cardinals officials broke into a network of the Houston Astros that housed special databases the team had built, according to law enforcement officials. Internal discussions about trades, proprietary statistics and scouting reports were compromised, the officials said.
MLB is aware of the investigation and is cooperating, per the report.
But it gets better:
Law enforcement officials believe the hacking was executed by vengeful front-office employees for the Cardinals hoping to wreak havoc on the work of Jeff Luhnow, the Astros’ general manager who had been a successful and polarizing executive with the Cardinals until 2011.
It is believed that these employees gained access to the Astros’ database by using a master list of passwords Luhnow had assembled in his time with the Cardinals.
If so, that’s flat-out stealing and a massive cheating scandal that shouldn’t just cost the guilty their jobs. I don’t think it’s crazy to say a postseason ban would be in order.
The Vikings released veteran safety Taylor Mays this morning.
The Vikings signed Mays, who played for coach Mike Zimmer in Cincinnati, to a one-year contract in March. But Mays, based on the organized team activities open to the media this spring, was buried on the depth chart.
Robert Blanton, who started 13 games at safety last season, has been back with fellow safety Harrison Smith and the first-team defense. Andrew Sendejo, who made three starts last year, and second-year safety Antone Exum received the majority of the snaps with the second unit.
A second-round pick of the 49ers in 2010, Mays joined the Bengals in 2011 and played 50 games for them, mostly as a backup. He had a significant role as a sub-package defender with Zimmer as his defensive coordinator.
Mays was expected to be given a similar role here, but the selection of versatile middle linebacker Eric Kendricks — who will line up beside college teammate Anthony Barr — could have changed their plans.
The Vikings have six safeties on the roster now following Mays’ release.
Mays signed a $795,000 contract, but only $25,000 of it was guaranteed.
In five NFL seasons, Mays made 98 tackles, recorded one sack and forced one fumble. He broke up six passes and has yet to pick off a pass.