NFL World Reacts to Vikings Latest Trade

An Unexpected New
Jun 8, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings outside linebackers Za'Darius Smith (left) and Danielle Hunter. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

After about nine weeks of speculation, the Minnesota Vikings finally pulled the trigger on a trade, sending outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith to the Cleveland Browns on Friday night.

Two draft picks, a 6th- and 7th-Rounder, joined Smith on the way to Ohio while the Vikings fetched a 2024 5th-Rounder and 2025 5th-Rounder. The transaction also freed up cap space for Minnesota, although that amount is unclear in the immediacy of the trade.

NFL World Reacts to Vikings Latest Trade

Smith played tremendously for the 2022 season’s first 10 games, slicing and dicing opponents for 10 sacks. Thereafter, the sacks stopped to the tune of 0.5 from Week 11 through 18. The QB pressures maintained, but fans tend to value sacks more than hurries or pressures, for better or worse.

World Reacts to Vikings
Aug 20, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Za’Darius Smith (55) looks on prior to the game against the San Francisco 49ers at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Reaction to the trade was mixed, even though it’s been a forgone conclusion for two months that Smith would be traded or released. Some appreciated the trade because at least Minnesota received something with the draft picks by sending Smith to Cleveland. Others wished general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah would’ve played hardball, drew a hard line with Smith (play or sit out), and demanded more from a trade partner.

VikingsCentral tweeted about the move, “Trade Za’Darius for whatever you can get for him. Kwesi trades Smith for 2 future 5th rounders. He only got THAT much for him?!? It’s unreal at this point. 🤣”

Za’Darius Smith Breaking Packers Hearts
Jul 29, 2022; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith (55) speaks to the press after training camp at US Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Cleveland reporter Nick Karns posted to Twitter, “Za’Darius Smith had 10 sacks last year. Myles Garrett had 16 sacks last year. CLEVELAND WILL EAT.”

A Vikings fan named Tadd took a personal angle, “I wanted to buy a Za’Darius Smith Vikings jersey but it seemed too weird to me that he had Anthony Barr’s number lol. Solid non-investment after all!”

ESPN’s Mike Clay tweeted, “Myles Garrett, Dalvin Tomlinson and Za’Darius Smith on the same defensive line? Pretty pretty pretty good.”

2022 Vikings Basic Betting Odds Tracker
Oct 2, 2022; London, United Kingdom; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Za’Darius Smith (55) celebrates victory at the end of the second half of the NFL International Series game at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter van den Berg-USA TODAY Sports.

Browns reporter Noah Weiskopf opined, “Za’Darius Smith has one year left on his contract and is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2023 season. Even if he signs elsewhere, the Browns would be awarded a compensatory pick. So either Smith re-signs with Cleveland, or the Browns are awarded a pick.”

And Vikings podcaster Ted Glover weighed in [sarcastically], “The Vikings defense sucked last year and they need to get rid of older players — Vikings trade Za’darius Smith — What the hell are the Vikings doing? Kwesi is an idiot. Same people.”

Free-agent newcomer Marcus Davenport is expected to take Smith’s place in 2023. Minnesota has EDGE rushers Patrick Jones, D.J. Wonnum, Luiji Vilian, and undrafted rookie Andre Carter II, among others, for depth.

Vikings minicamp begins on June 13 — so in one month.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).

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