6 Vikings players who could be cap casualties in 2023

(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) Za'Darius Smith
(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) Za'Darius Smith /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) Za’Darius Smith /

Za’Darius Smith, Edge

  • 2023 cap hit: $16,990,186
  • Savings in 2023 if released; $13,656,852

After a red-hot start to the season, Za’Darius Smith suffered an injury that hampered his productivity while not sidelining him, making the second half of his season feel disappointing by comparison.

Early on, he was first in pressures and among the leaders in sacks but he only registered half a sack in his last eight games. He still ended the season with 24 quarterback hits, ten sacks, and five pass defenses.

Cutting Smith would leave a small amount of dead money, making it an appealing option to free up cap while losing talent at only one position. The problem is that replacing a talented edge rusher isn’t a simple task.

It would be a little surprising if Smith is let go this offseason, but it would also make sense financially. He should definitely be back to be part of what the Minnesota Vikings defense will look like in the second year under head coach Kevin O’Connell.