The Vikings have signed former Green Bay Packers OLB Za'Darius Smith to a 3-year/$42M deal that is worth up to $47M with incentives.
This was a HUGE signing for the Minnesota Vikings, who were pretty quiet for the start of the 2022 offseason. The Vikings needed to upgrade their defense and they most definitely did that for the defensive line, pairing Danielle Hunter up with another ELITE edge rusher in Za'Darius Smith.
Za'Darius Smith is a big improvement for the newly added 3-4 defense in Minnesota. His familiarity with coaches and ability to move around the defensive line is a unique skill to have. I do not doubt in my mind that Smith will be a big impact on helping Danielle Hunter transition into that OLB/Edge role in the new defensive scheme.
Fortunately for the Vikings, Za'Darius Smith missed most of the 2022 season with a back injury. Unfortunately for the Vikings, we have two Edge Rushing guys coming off of pretty substantial injuries now, but I am confident that both Danielle Hunter and Za'Darius Smith will stay healthy and real havoc for opposing offensive lines.
Fun Fact: Za'Darius Smith and Danielle Hunter in 2019 were both the leaders in the league for pressures on the quarterback.
Danielle Hunter had 14.5 sacks and 88 pressures, while Za'Darius Smith had 13.5 sacks and 93 pressures in 2019
This was a big first step for the Vikings in repairing their very bad defense over the last 2 seasons. Adding another Elite pass rusher will help the young and inexperienced secondary tremendously this season. Add a veteran guy like Patrick Peterson and we're cooking up a good season on both sides of the ball.