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Za’Darius Smith says he was “treated bad” in Green Bay

And it played a role in him signing with Minnesota

NFL: Minnesota Vikings Training Camp Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Back in 2009, there was a player that had a storied career with the Green Bay Packers that signed with the Minnesota Vikings in order to get a couple of shots every year at his former team because he didn’t like the way things ended there. While everyone remembers that, it appears that we might be getting a bit of a repeat of that in 2022.

According to this story from Jordan Dajani of CBS Sports, part of the motivation for OLB Za’Darius Smith coming to sign with Minnesota was so that he could play against Green Bay twice a year. Smith feels that he was “treated bad” by the Packers and appears to be looking for a measure of revenge.

“Walking past me not saying nothing. ‘Z, how’s your back doing?’ — there was none of that,” Smith said (h/t Pro Football Talk). “As you can see, that adds on to why I’m on the other side. So, I can go back. I get to go back two times a year. ... I put my back on the f---ing line. I put everything. And that year three, I was treated bad. That’s why I’m here now. So, I can play them twice a year.”

Smith had originally agreed to terms on a four-year deal with the Baltimore Ravens this offseason before deciding to back out of the deal and sign with Minnesota instead. There’s never been any real clarity on whether or not any interest from the Vikings played a role in Smith reversing course, but based on the story cited above it certainly feels like it could have been a factor.

Smith’s first chance for revenge will come on Sunday when he gets to face his former teammates in the season opener at U.S. Bank Stadium. If Smith and Danielle Hunter can stay healthy and play to their potential this year, they’re going to cause headaches for a lot of teams, whether they’ve played for them in the past or not.