5 most disappointing Vikings in the playoff loss to the Giants
By Nik Edlund
Za’Darius Smith – OLB
Did Za’Darius Smith play on Sunday? That is a joke, but it isn’t far off from the truth. Where was No. 55 all day?
The one time he made any noise was when he threw a fit when Andrew Thomas wasn’t called for an obvious false start, and the Giants went on to score an easy touchdown.
This was supposed to be the game where we saw a healthy Za’Darius Smith. He stated mid-week that he was 100 percent healthy for the first time since being hurt in the Buffalo game.
After hearing that, many Vikings fans were expecting to see a dominating performance from Smith like we did the first seven games of the season, where he went on a tear with 8.5 sacks in that span. Instead, we basically got crickets with just three total tackles on the day.
When Ed Donatell stays in his shell coverage all game and just rushes four, the outside backers need to hit home. Smith didn’t come close in this one and failed the team when they needed him the most.
Who knows if Smith will be back next year? If the Vikings move on from Donatell, they could change schemes making him expendable. 10 sacks in a season is impressive, no matter which way you shake it, but it would’ve been nice to see him show up when it mattered the most.