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Ben Leber on the Minnesota Vikings Selecting Anthony Barr

Former Minnesota Vikings linebacker Ben Leber joined Jeff Thurn on Friday’s edition of Overtime.

Leber (@nacholeber) works for KFAN in Minneapolis, and played for the Vikings from 2002 to 2010.

As a former linebacker, Leber talks about Minnesota selecting UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr at No. 9 last night: 

“We talked about it a lot on our morning radio show in town. That morning we did a mock draft, and the great Paul Allen had selected Anthony Barr as his pick, and we killed him. Absolutely bashed him because (I was one of the guys that jumped on his case) he’s an on the ball rush end with two years of experience as a linebacker and as a whole in his career. He’s never played a snap off the ball. So, you look at Mike Zimmer’s defense and where is he going to fit in? Add him in some packages, and he will be a heck of a force, getting at quarterback from the edge, but if you want this guy to be an every down linebacker, he’s going to learn so much when he steps off the ball four yards in the box. Now, he has to read offensive lineman, play-action pass, understand pass responsibilities, can he cover man-to-man. All those questions we had going into the draft, I don’t know man. I just don’t think it makes any sense. Even now today, I understand what his physical skill sets are, and outside maybe of Clowney and Mack, I don’t know if there was a guy as physically gifted. I think that’s what they fell in love and were enamored with. It’s kind of like when a college gives a scholarship to just an athlete out of high school and say we will find a place for this guy, and I think that is what they are going to do with him. I trust Mike Zimmer for all the people he has coached, he’s going to find a way for this guy to learn a system and become an every down linebacker. I don’t think it is going to happen this year, but in the next couple of years, he is going to develop into a nice linebacker.”

Leber on if the Vikings should have gone another direction on defense, per say cornerback? 

“That was the guy (Justin Gilbert) that I had tapped as well. A lot of people liked Dennard as well, and I can see as great players. In my mind, there’s something about Gilbert; his persona, swagger, his return man personality whenever he gets his hands on the ball whether kick off returns or picking off passes, he wants to get in the endzone. I think that is what sold me on Gilbert. I thought with this division and lack of depth at really, we have Captain Munnerlyn starting on the outside and base defense. But he is going to be moved to inside, and stuff packages, and who are we going to have? Josh Robinson? I don’t have the highest confidence in him, but think he is a capable player. Still think you need to add some quality depth there, and I thought Gilbert was a perfect fit.”

The Vikings and Browns swapped picks eight and nine. Cleveland selected Gilbert.

To listen to more of Leber’s interview with Thurn, listen below:

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*For comments, or story ideas, email Sam at, and follow him on Twitter @samtastad.

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

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