During the 2022 NFL season, there weren’t many positives for the Minnesota Vikings defense.
They gave up the league’s 4th most points over the course of the season ands particularly bad in the second half of the season.
Over the last 9 weeks of the season, they only held one opponent under 20 points. In that time, they allowed at least 30 points to 4 different teams, including 2 that scored 40 or more.
They even allowed an average New York Giants offense to score 31 in a home loss in the first round of the playoffs.
Amid those struggles, there was one member of the defense who stood out for the Vikings.
Zadarius Smith racked up 10 sacks in his first season with the Vikings, earning himself a spot in the Pro Bowl.
Despite his success in that first season in Minnesota and a lucrative contract with the team, Smith has reportedly requested that the Vikings release him.
According to NFL insider Ian Rapoport, the Vikings have no plans to grant that request.
#Vikings Pro Bowl pass-rusher Za'Darius Smith informed the team that he wants to be released, I’m told. The team has no plans to do that. The situation remains unresolved. https://t.co/1jWfnK36w4
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 9, 2023
If the Vikings were to release Zadarius Smith, it would save them a little over $13 million in cap space.
Still, it might not be worth it considering the impact he has for a defense that doesn’t have much else going for it.
If the Vikings change their mind about releasing Smith, he should have no trouble finding himself a new team.
It’s unclear why Smith wants to leave the Vikings after a season that saw him rack up sacks and the team earn the 3rd seed in the NFC.
The Minnesota Vikings will surely be hoping whatever the reason is, that they can convince him to stick around next year as they try to improve their defense.