3 Za’Darius Smith replacements for the Vikings revamped protection
The Minnesota Vikings couldn’t cease numerous groups in 2022. Now the search is on for an additional cross rusher after Za’Darius Smith was dealt to Cleveland.
Solely the division-rival Detroit Lions allowed extra complete yards per recreation, and solely the Tennessee Titans surrendered extra passing yards per contest. Regardless of a 13-4 exhibiting and an NFC North title, the Minnesota Vikings allowed extra factors (427) than they scored (424) this previous season.
There have already been numerous changes to Kevin O’Connell’s club on the defensive facet of the ball. It began with the firing of coordinator Ed Donatell and the hiring of Brian Flores.
Veterans equivalent to exterior linebacker Eric Kendricks, cornerback Patrick Peterson and defensive deal with Dalvin Tomlinson are now elsewhere. That now contains pass-rusher Za’Darius Smith, who was dealt to the Browns on Friday night.
Who might fill the void for a performer that completed with 44 tackles and 10 sacks in 16 begins for the Vikings this previous season?
Vikings replacements for Za’Darius Smith
3. Markus Golden
The Arizona Cardinals parted methods with the nine-year NFL veteran this offseason after a less-than-scintillating exhibiting in 2022, a minimum of by way of sacks. Nevertheless, exterior linebacker Markus Golden appeared in all 17 video games for the membership and made 14 begins. He completed with 48 tackles (7 for losses), however solely 2.5 sacks.
Nevertheless, the 32-year-old professional was tied for second on the crew with 20 quarterback pressures, as many as defensive finish Zach Allen, and simply 5 lower than J.J. Watt (25).