Vikings host ex-Pack LB Za’Darius Smith on free agent visit

March 22, 2022 GMT
FILE - Green Bay Packers outside linebacker Za'Darius Smith (55) plays against the Detroit Lions during the first half of an NFL football game in Detroit, Dec. 13, 2020. The Green Bay Packers signed outside linebacker Preston Smith to a contract extension and released outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith and offensive lineman Billy Turner in a flurry of moves before the start of the free-agency period. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)
FILE - Green Bay Packers outside linebacker Za'Darius Smith (55) plays against the Detroit Lions during the first half of an NFL football game in Detroit, Dec. 13, 2020. The Green Bay Packers signed outside linebacker Preston Smith to a contract extension and released outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith and offensive lineman Billy Turner in a flurry of moves before the start of the free-agency period. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)
FILE - Green Bay Packers outside linebacker Za'Darius Smith (55) plays against the Detroit Lions during the first half of an NFL football game in Detroit, Dec. 13, 2020. The Green Bay Packers signed outside linebacker Preston Smith to a contract extension and released outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith and offensive lineman Billy Turner in a flurry of moves before the start of the free-agency period. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)
FILE - Green Bay Packers outside linebacker Za'Darius Smith (55) plays against the Detroit Lions during the first half of an NFL football game in Detroit, Dec. 13, 2020. The Green Bay Packers signed outside linebacker Preston Smith to a contract extension and released outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith and offensive lineman Billy Turner in a flurry of moves before the start of the free-agency period. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)
FILE - Green Bay Packers outside linebacker Za'Darius Smith (55) plays against the Detroit Lions during the first half of an NFL football game in Detroit, Dec. 13, 2020. The Green Bay Packers signed outside linebacker Preston Smith to a contract extension and released outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith and offensive lineman Billy Turner in a flurry of moves before the start of the free-agency period. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

Former Green Bay outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith was in Minnesota on Monday for a free agent visit with the Vikings, who could use another proven pass rusher but are lacking salary cap space.

The Vikings announced the arrival of Smith, who was released by the Packers a week ago after a 2021 season that was ruined by a back injury. He played in only game, after making the Pro Bowl in each of his first two years with the Packers.

Smith had 26 sacks in 32 games over 2019-20. His defensive coordinator those seasons was Mike Pettine, who is now the assistant head coach for the Vikings.

Danielle Hunter, who is carrying a salary cap charge of more than $25 million for 2022, is a two-time Pro Bowl pick who remains the team’s best pass rusher. Hunter, however, has played in only seven games over the last two years due to injuries.

___

More AP NFL coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL