A couple of days ago, the Minnesota Vikings fulfilled Za’Darius Smith’s wishes to play elsewhere, sending him to the Cleveland Browns in exchange for pick upgrades in 2024 and 2025. According to reports that have surfaced since then, the Vikings had multiple offers for Smith’s services.
According to our friends over at Dawgs By Nature, there were three teams that were vying for Smith’s services. In the end, it sounded like Smith chose Cleveland over the other two teams (neither of whom have been named), paving the way for the deal that we saw announced on Friday.
Ultimately, the writing was on the wall a couple of months ago for Smith and the Vikings when he a) reportedly asked the team for his release and b) then watched the Vikings sign Marcus Davenport to a 1-year deal in free agency. The Vikings didn’t give Davenport the kind of money they did with the idea of having him sit on the bench behind Smith and Danielle Hunter, so something had to give.
Honestly, if the Vikings were going to make a trade at this spot, I think we should all be happy that they chose to do so with Smith rather than with Hunter. Hunter appears to be back on the right track after a pair of injury-marred seasons and, unlike Smith, didn’t drop off considerably in the second half of last season. He’s likely going to be due for a new deal here soon but that’s a bridge the Vikings can cross when they get to it.
After gaining some cap room. . .though how much hasn’t been finalized yet, as far as I’ve seen. . .there are likely going to be some more moves in the offing for the Vikings this offseason before we hit the start of Training Camp. When we get word of those moves, we’ll bring them to you right away.