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Za’Darius Smith Traded to Browns: Did Kwesi Do the Right Thing?

The Vikings completed their draft two weeks ago. We’ve been thinking about Kwesi Adofo-Mensah’s picks and what they say about his view of the cornerbacks. The Vikings and DC Brian Flores believe that Byron Murphy, Andrew Booth Jr., and Akayleb Evans will all play important roles in 2023. During an interview on the Vikings Entertainment Network, safety Lewis Cine was asked what fans should expect from the defense in 2023 with Flores as the DC. He replied that the defense will be fast, aggressive, and all-out malice. Joe Kapp, the first Latino football player to take a team to the Super Bowl and known as the “toughest Chicano”, passed away at 85 years old.

On this episode of Two Old Bloggers - Get ready for the “ultimate” Minnesota Vikings analysis with Two Old Bloggers! Join Darren and Dave as they break down the latest in Vikingsland. Tune in for their “expert” opinions, information, and entertaining banter. Nah, just Darren Campbell and Dave Stefano giving it their best to help you grow in your Vikings fandom’ship as we all soak in the latest. Here’s what we’re talking about…

Za’Darius Smith Trade

The Vikings have traded Za’Darius Smith to the Browns for a 5th-rounder in 2024 and in 2025. They also get needed cap space. The Browns get an aging but productive pass rusher in Smith, a 6th-rounder and 7th-rounder in the 2024 NFL draft. The Vikings are also picking up some of Smith’s salary. This seems like a pretty meager return for trading away a player who had 10.5 sacks last year. So, why did Kwesi Adofo-Mensah make the deal? KAM probably looks at it differently. He had a player who wanted a new contract and the Vikings weren’t prepared to give him one. The Vikings' salary cap situation was such that they needed to create space and trading Smith got them potentially a significant amount of it. As for the draft picks – for numbers guys like KAM – two 5th rounders trump a 6th and a 7th. They also had to find a team that was willing to rip up Smith’s old deal and sign him to a newer, more expensive one as part of the trade. This is not a great deal for the Vikings. But sometimes there is not a good deal to be had and tough decisions need to be made. This is one of those tough decisions.

Analyzing the Vikings 2023 schedule

The Vikings have five prime-time games scheduled this season. The first seven games are going to determine if the Vikings make the playoffs and repeat as NFC North champions or if they are on the outside looking in. The first seven games are going to be playing the Super Bowl champions – the Chiefs, the Super Bowl runner-ups – the Eagles, and the team that lost to the Eagles in the NFC Championship game – the 49ers. That’s some pretty stiff competition. They also have to play on the road at Soldier Field in week six. The Vikings also play the rebuilding Bucs and Panthers during that stretch but you play four playoff teams in your first seven games, that’s an early stretch for the Vikings and Kevin O’Connell to navigate in year two for him. If the Vikings come out of that stretch 4-3 and even 5-2, they will be in pretty good shape for the final 11 games of the regular season to make the playoffs.

Quick Hitters

The Vikings completed their draft two weeks ago and one of the things I’ve been thinking about is what Kwesi Adofo-Mensah’s picks said about how he feels about the cornerbacks. The Vikings and DC Brian Flores feel comfortable with not just Byron Murphy as a starter but Andrew Booth Jr. and Akayleb Evans playing big roles in 2023. Speaking of defensive backs, Darren caught safety Lewis Cine being interviewed on the Vikings Entertainment Network on Thursday after the schedule came out. He was asked what Vikings fans should expect from him and the defense in 2023 with Flores as the DC. He didn’t want to talk about himself but he said what you can expect from the defense this season is “speed, aggressiveness, and all-out malice.” Rest in peace, Joe Kapp, the “toughest Chicano” and first Latino football player to take a team to the Super Bowl, died Monday at the age of 85.

Darren Campbell and David Stefano are the Two Old Bloggers. Both started public commentary on the Vikings two decades ago on various blogs. They now do it via live streams on YouTube and Facebook and podcasts on your favorite aggregator. We appreciate your team fandom and that you are taking the time to enjoy it with us.

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