Za’Darius Smith – OLB
Za’Darius Smith was the biggest offseason signing the Vikings made last spring, and his impact was felt in Week 1. He was a beast in the Packers game, constantly harassing Aaron Rodgers, sacking him once, but hitting him multiple times.
He plowed through blockers showing impressive power and tenacity. His play was a sparkplug for this defense, and they fed off that energy all game long.
That sparkplug was completely dead against the Eagles. Smith was pretty quiet all game long as he finished the night with just two tackles, though one was for a loss.
These quiet games from Smith shouldn’t happen. He has Danielle Hunter opposite him and should see plenty of one-on-one opportunities.
Smith showed how dominant he can be last week, and he was far from that against Philadelphia. Minnesota defensive coordinator Ed Donatell didn’t seem to move him around the way he did a week ago, and that could be part of the reason for his quiet game.
Smith has come out and said he signed with the Vikings so he can play the Packers twice each season. Many assumed that was said tongue in cheek, but after seeing his decrease in production from the Green Bay game to the Eagles game, it makes one wonder if he played so well just to spite his former team.