In an earlier version of this post, Vikings Wire cited a now-deleted Twitter post about signing Za’Darius Smith. The article has been updated to reflect the difference.
The Minnesota Vikings are bringing in a formal opponent to add even more firepower to a defensive unit that finished with the second-most sacks in 2021. Two-time Pro Bowl linebacker and former Green Bay Packer Za’Darius Smith, according to He will reportedly sign with the Vikings on a three-year contract and remain in the NFC North.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported the news on Tuesday.
While the passing numbers look good for the Vikings on paper, things clearly took a turn for the worse in the second half of the season, as illness, injury and attrition became factors in the team’s rapid defensive decline. .
The idea of Smith lining up against two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Danielle Hunter is every quarterback’s worst nightmare.
Smith only appeared in one game last season after being sidelined with a lingering back injury. However, the previous two seasons when he was healthy, he was a defensive game destroyer for opposing offenses. He had a career-high 13.5 sacks in 2019 and added another 12.5 sacks in 2020, along with two pass deflections, four forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
The Vikings desperately needed another playmaker who could do more than rush the passer. Smith has shown the ability to consistently generate turnovers in ways that tip the game in his team’s favor.
Minnesota still has work to do on the defensive end of the ball, but the unit is significantly better with Smith on the field.