Report: Za’Darius Smith asks Vikings for release

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Edge rusher Za'Darius Smith signed a three-year deal with the Vikings last year, but he’s reportedly hoping to move on after just one season in Minnesota.

Smith tweeted a thank you message “to Skol Nation for an amazing season & experience” in 2022, which looked like it might be a response to the Vikings releasing him in order to clear cap space. Releasing Smith would free up over $12.1 million.

According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Media, however, Smith’s release is just wishful thinking at this point. Rapoport reports that Smith told the team he wants to be released and that the Vikings have rebuffed that request for the time being.

Smith initially agreed to a deal with the Ravens last year, but wound up signing with the Vikings after backing out of that agreement. He had 44 tackles, 10 sacks, 24 quarterback hits, and a forced fumble in 16 starts.

The Vikings have already released linebacker Eric Kendricks, wide receiver Adam Thielen could be headed out the door, and other veterans could be on their way out, so things will look different in Minnesota whether the Vikings give Smith what they want or not.

51 responses to “Report: Za’Darius Smith asks Vikings for release

  1. This guy is never happy. Let him go. He’s running out of teams who think he is a man of his word. Not worth the headache.

  2. Something was up at the end of the year with him. He missed the season ender excused/uninjured and no one said why.

    After playing feely good patticake for a year with Donatell maybe these guys don’t want to play hard anymore, especially with Sheriff Flores coming to town.

  3. Smith wouldn’t want his release unless the Vikings have asked him to take a pay cut. He probably can’t make what they owe him on the open market. He’ll get his wish unless the Vikings are able to trade him.

  4. If Minnesota clears a bunch of cap space… the chatter about Lamar might get stronger. Some have suspected that the Vikings are a dark horse for his services.

  5. When Smith came to Green Bay he was esthetic over the contract Green Bay gave him. By his last year, he completely tanked with an “injury”, because the Packers would not pay him more. Now he’s trying to weasel out of Minnesota. Talented guy and somebody will overpay for him, but he comes across as only loyal to himself, not his team, not the game.

  6. Vikes wii cut him loose because he is unhappy. Vikes are very soft this way.

  7. He’s still got juice if used correctly. He has another year on his contract, so at minimum, there is a trade opportunity.

  8. That’s what you get for leaving the Packers. Now move on to the Jets where you can reunite yourself with Rodgers!!

  9. im pretty sure he wants to go the eagles most of thier dline are free agents, mark my words.why not he 30 too

  10. Bizarre that this is happening considering Flores is known for being MUCH more aggressive on defense, something Smith I figured would be ecstatic about. I’m guessing there’s more to this that we don’t know about yet.

  11. I thought the complete top-to-bottom rebuild was supposed to happen in Green Bay.

  12. he started out having a great year but really didn’t do much towards the end of the year, kind of like his tenure with the Packers.

  13. All you Viking fans said last year he was so great and we told exactly what would happen and it did.

  14. And to think all these years all they needed was a top notch QB , the fire sale has begun .

  15. purpleguy says:
    March 9, 2023 at 5:45 pm

    He has another year on his contract, so at minimum, there is a trade opportunity.
    He’s scheduled to make $12 million+ and had 1.5 sacks his last 9 games.
    maybe he could fetch a ball bag.

  16. Vikes want to keep him. He wants more money. Ask for a release knowing they don’t want to do that hoping they will restructure his deal to make him happy. No pay cut, but a restructure with more guaranteed money.

  17. He had his Captain status taken from Packers before they let him go. Talented guy but seems to be hot for a team then wants to go when the honeymoon is over.

  18. Wants to sign with the Lions or Bears so he can stick it to his previous two employers.

  19. philmccracken says:
    March 9, 2023 at 5:40 pm
    He wants out of MN, just like anyone would.


    Didn’t he get out of Green bay too, just like everyone does as well?

  20. Dude had 10 sacks after 9-10 games. And he finished with 10. Ten sacks is good. But down the stretch, when we really needed it… nothing. I’m hoping Flores gets this defense back to a respectable unit. Good luck Z, stay blessed.

  21. If an Minny fan has high hopes for Flores being more aggressive on D, think again. 1 yr in Pitt & he got nothing out of their inside LBs. Spillane couldn’t cover his mom, and Devin Bush was invisible – again. He is a confirmed bust. Good luck Vikes fans.

  22. He seems to be a strange cat.

    When he left Baltimore and came to Green Bay, he seemed really happy to be in Green Bay, but right from the jump I thought I caught undertones of him being happy to be outta Baltimore. As if he’d felt underutilized and disrespected as a Raven.

    Then, he obviously seemed REALLY pissed at Green Bay. Enough so to COMPLETELY burn the bridge in Baltimore, even.

    He got to the Vikings and said all the same happy things he said when he came to the Packers. His lavish praise and “excitement for “the opportunity to play with Danielle Hunter” were pretty much word-for-word what they’d been for Preston Smith.

    And much like his time with the Packers, he came out like a house afire, quickly becoming a fan favorite with his ferocious play, big smile, and quick wit.

    Aaaand now here we are…

  23. No. Smith signed the contract, he knew the terms. Plus the Vikings will take a cap hit, and they shouldn’t have to. If anything, the Vikings should ask Smith for some signing bonus money back in exchange for his release, in order to offset the cap hit.

  24. He played very well, but then he got hurt for the second season in a row, and his play fell off a cliff after that. I’d understand if the Vikings are balking at giving him a new deal.

    Plus, I’m sure they would rather trade him than release him.

  25. He was paid well last year to play half a season, then he coasted the second half with an owie. They will cut or trade him when it is best for the team, not for him. Might be different if he played hard all season. Don’t care if he may have been hurt, if he was he should have sat out until he could produce instead of hurting the team with slow ineffective play. If it’s better to hold on to him until June 1st they will.

  26. Let Smith go, Vikes. Why would you keep someone who doesn’t want to be there? It’s not like he’s an all-pro or anything.

  27. 12.15 mil if they cut him now, 13.8 mil if they cut him after June 1st. 1.6 mil for a team with cap problems will pay for a couple rookie deals. Come June 2nd he gets his request.

  28. Add this embarrassing incident to the lengthy list of reasons why the Vikings have never won a championship.


  29. Lots of unhappy, bitter cheeseheads posting here. Good luck with Love leading you to the NFC North basement.

  30. qckappa says:
    March 10, 2023 at 12:41 am

    Lol. We still won the the NFCN last year. Keep hating! Skol

    Weird flex on a story about a disgruntled Viking player, but o.k. 🤔

  31. “We still won the NFCN last year”. That’s pretty much the high water mark for our purple helmets.

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