Za’Darius Smith Signs With Vikings
Za’Darius Smith arrived in Eagan on Monday and hung out all day. He posed for photos and hit the local restaurant scene with Minnesota Vikings higher-ups last night. There was even a deleted insider tweet around dinner time, that the Minnesota Vikings had signed the former Packer.
But at the end of the day, there was nothing signed and no announcement of a deal. So we all went to sleep with nothing but propped up dreams of a Hunter/Smith EDGE rush combo wreaking havoc on opposing quarterbacks in 2022. Counting up sacks like they were sheep.
Tuesday morning past with nothing but more angst. The Vikings hadn’t yet announced that Smith’s visit was over, so he was assumed to still be in town. But the silence from both the team and Za’Darius was deafening. Especially given how vocal both parties were about his arrival on Monday
But finally, it happened. Just before 1PM CT, news broke that Za’Darius Smith and the Minnesota Vikings had come to an agreement on a 3-year, $42 million contract that can reach $47 million with incentives. And the celebration began.
Za’Darius Smith agreed to terms with the Minnesota Vikings, per source.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 22, 2022
3 year deal
Base value of 42 million
Worth up to 47 million with incentives
14 million APY
How Big is Smith Signing?
I said it yesterday when Smith arrived for his visit and I will say it again now. There is no signing that the Minnesota Vikings could have made that will make a bigger impact on their defense than Za’Darius Smith, who’s had over 12 sacks in each of his last two healthy seasons.
Just a few days ago, we were worried about Danielle Hunter being traded away, leaving Minnesota with nobody to rush the passer. But now, if Smith and Hunter are healthy, the Vikings have one of the best pass rush duos in the entire NFL.
And that elite pass rush will help cover up the other holes the Vikings have on defense, especially in the secondary. Sure, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah cannot quit now. He still needs help at cornerback. But no matter who plays that position come September, they will be better with the Vikings than they would be in a vacuum.
Za'Darius Smith is 29 and coming off injury, but how about this…— Phil Mackey ???? (@PhilMackey) March 21, 2022
In 2019, Smith led the NFL with 105 total pressures (!!), per @PFF. Ahead of Nick Bosa's 102.
Smith's pressures dropped to 59 in 2020 — still top 12 in the NFL for an edge rusher, and he still tallied 14 sacks.
Smith posted an 88.8 and 84.2 pass-rush grade in his two healthy years with the Packers before last season per PFF— Sean Borman (@SeanBormanNFL) March 22, 2022
Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan