Cap-Strapped Vikings Trying to Convince Za’Darius Smith to Stay in Minnesota

Photo: Za'Darius Smith - Twitter

The Minnesota Vikings are waiting as long as possible before making many of the key roster decisions they have remaining this offseason. Decisions that include the likes of Danielle Hunter, Dalvin Cook and Za’Darius Smith.

Vikings want to convince Za’Darius Smith to stay

The Vikings hope to work out a new deal that appeases Hunter. But according to Darren Wolfson (SKOR North, KSTP), they don’t want to stop there. Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and new defensive coordinator, Brian Flores, want their other 2022-23 EDGE rusher to return next season as well.

“Za’Darius… they want him. They do. Brian Flores wants Za’ Darius Smith. That has been vocalized to Za’Darius Smith. And so, I’m not ready to say the Vikings are going to outright release Za’Darius or even trade him. Maybe eventually… but I’m not ready to say it.”

Darren Wolfson – Mackey & Judd (SKOR North)
Problem: Smith wants out and Vikings are broke

The snag with Z. Smith, of course, comes from reports earlier this offseason that he isn’t all that interested in returning to Minnesota next season. How will the Vikings convince Za’Darius to change his mind? It’s unlikely to come via a pay raise. According to Alec Lewis (The Athletic), it’s more likely they try getting him to take a pay cut. Good luck with that.

If Smith is not traded, the Vikings have two likely options. The first is to pursue a possible contract adjustment. The second is to release Smith, absorbing dead money in the present for future cap savings. Neither option would be great for either side, but such are the circumstances with a complex contract situation.

Alec Lewis -The Athletic

Whether they are able to make Danielle Hunter and Za’Darius Smith happy or they are forced to look elsewhere, the Vikings have to get right at outside linebacker this offseason. The 2023-24 offense should be high powered, whether Dalvin Cook returns or not.

But without competent pass rushers on the other side of the ball, the Minnesota Vikings might give up 60 points per game, given the weaknesses they have in the 2nd and 3rd levels. Even Kirko Chainz, in a souped up offense, isn’t making the playoffs when up against that week-in and week-out.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan

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