Ah yes, as a Green Bay Packers fan, this story is as old as time. Another fan favorite has joined one of the team’s biggest rivals.
Za’Darius Smith had a visit with the Minnesota Vikings, this meeting was hinting at a reunion between him and his former position coach and Packer coach, Mike Smith, who helped Z breakout in 2019 and 2020. After the meeting yesterday, the news was broken by NFL insider Ian Rapoport that Smith had signed a three-year deal worth up to $47 million.
Just like Brett Favre and Greg Jennings, Za’Darius Smith is now the newest member of the Vikings who had come from the Packers. This means that not only will he be playing across from Pro Bowler Danielle Hunter, but he will be attempting to ruin the Packers’ day twice a year for the foreseeable future.
The Green Bay Packers, on the other hand, have a great arsenal of linemen who can help minimize Smith’s impact against the team, with David Bakhtiari coming back from injury and Yosh Nijman most likely moving to right tackle after his development this year filling in on the offensive line.
Losing a Pro Bowl player like Smith certainly hurts seeing as, during his tenure with the Packers, he had 26 sacks in the two years he was healthy. The good thing for the Packers is that they still have Preston Smith and young star Rashan Gary, who are more than capable of holding their own on the edge.
Green Bay’s edge rushers combined for 18.5 sacks in 2021 during Z’s absence. This should make Packers fans feel a little better about the future of the defense in the post-Za’Darius Smith era.
There are two ways fans can look at this. Firstly, being that Z chose to join the Vikings to make a statement towards the Packers to try and prove that he still has that ’19-’20 version of himself left in the tank. Or secondly, to keep the Smith Bros. in the NFC North, this time, ones wearing green and gold and the other is wearing purple.