Minnesota Vikings 3 best offseason additions in 2022

Minnesota Vikings, Za'Darius Smith (Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images)
Minnesota Vikings, Za'Darius Smith (Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images) /
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Minnesota Vikings
Minnesota Vikings, Za’Darius Smith (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) /

Minnesota Vikings top offseason pickup: OLB Za’Darius Smith (Released by Green Bay Packers)

Back in 2019, the rival Green Bay Packers spent some big money in free agency to upgrade their defense – most notably their pass rush. They added former Washington outside linebacker Preston Smith and one-time Baltimore Ravens’ edge rusher Za’Darius Smith. The combination was quite effective and the key to the team’s resurgence in terms of getting to the quarterback. The latter started all 16 games that year and the next and combined for an impressive 26 quarterback traps.

But a year ago, the latter Smith was limited to only one regular-season contest after being injured in Week 1 vs. the Saints. This offseason, the Packers cut him loose and the Vikings pounced on the prize. Now he will team with Danielle Hunter as the outside linebackers in new coordinator Ed Donatell’s unit. A year ago, only the Pittsburgh Steelers (55) finished with more sacks than the Purple Gang (51).

It’s worth noting that while Smith missed the vast majority of 2021, he returned for the playoffs and had a sack of Jimmy Garoppolo in Green Bay’s loss to San Francisco. And it should be interesting when the Packers invade Minnesota on the opening Sunday of the season.