On Tuesday, the Minnesota Vikings and Za’Darius Smith, an outside linebacker who was a free agent, reached terms on a $32 million, three-year contract. This gives the team a boost in pass rush from Smith, who was recently fired by their largest rival.
Smith, who has spent the past three seasons with Green Bay Packers, is eligible to earn as much as $47 million over his contract’s life. Smith, 29, was a Pro Bowl selection in 2020 and 2019 with 26 sacks in 32 games. However, Smith suffered a serious back injury last year and played only one game for NFC North champions.
Smith was released by the Packers last week. Multiple reports claim that Smith reached an agreement with the Packers to return to Baltimore Ravens. However, that contract was not honored.
The Vikings now have Danielle Hunter, a defensive end, back after a torn pectoral muscle that limited him to seven games in 2021. They also have two proven pass-rushers who can help them to shore up a defense that has been struggling over the past two years. Smith was Smith’s assistant head coach in 2019 and 2020.