It’s been a hot topic in the Twin Cities ever since the Vikings suffered a 27-24 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.
On consecutive plays in overtime last weekend, the Vikings failed to execute the Tush Push, turning the ball over in the process. It was a shocking result considering the Philadelphia Eagles have turned the Tush Push into an unstoppable play over the past couple of seasons. It has become so dominant that the NFL might ban the modified quarterback sneak this offseason.
It raises the question: Who first thought of the concept?
As far as NFL Films is concerned, it might have been Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr. The production company posted the origin story of the Tush Push on social media with Barr shown talking to Vikings teammate Harrison Smith on the sidelines in 2018.
“You should put some big dude at quarterback and another big dude right behind him,” Barr said to Smith in the NFL Films video clip. “Then just push him.”
Naturally, the Pioneer Press tracked Barr down at TCO Performance Center last week, asking him about the moment that has gone viral.
“I don’t remember that exact conversation,” Barr said with a laugh. “Obviously I did say it.”
Though he was hesitant to proclaim himself as the mastermind behind the Tush Push — Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni likely holds that unofficial title — Barr has long had an affinity for the quarterback sneak in short-yardage situations.
“I remember playing Madden growing up,” Barr said. “It could be first and goal and I’m running quarterback sneak four times. Obviously it’s not the same in person. It does seem to have translated somewhat with some teams running it pretty effectively.”
The poster child for the movement is Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts. He routinely takes a snap under center in short-yardage situation and plows forward while his teammates push him from behind.
Just like Barr suggested to Smith a few years ago.
“It’s evolved from one guy pushing to two guys pushing to three guys pushing,” Barr said. “It’s been really interesting to see.”
What does Barr think about the Tush Push potentially being banned?
“I don’t see an issue with it,” he said. “Just because teams can’t stop the Eagles when they do it doesn’t mean it’s going to work for everybody. It’s a play that’s been successful for them, so it’s perceived a certain way. It’s just a quarterback sneak at the end of the day.”
The injury report for the Vikings was notable on Wednesday with linebacker Jordan Hicks (shin) classified as a full participant.
Meanwhile, defensive tackle Jonathan Bullard (ankle) and defensive tackle Sheldon Day (ankle) were limited participants.
There was a long list of players who did not participate, including pass rusher Danielle Hunter (illness), running back Alexander Mattison (ankle), cornerback Byron Murphy Jr. (hamstring), receiver Jalen Nailor (concussion), right tackle Brian O’Neill (ankle) and defensive tackle Harrison Phillips (back).
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