Za’Darius Smith wants cut from Vikings, is Packers return likely?

Linebacker Za’Darius Smith tweeted out a farewell message to the Minnesota Vikings. Could a reunion with the Green Bay Packers be in the cards?

The Minnesota Vikings have some decisions to make, as they are currently over the salary cap threshold. The team already cut linebacker Eric Kendricks, and may very well move on from wide receiver Adam Thielen.

There will be changes made to the Vikings, especially as they look to improve their team after their Wild Card Round elimination by the New York Giants.

On Thursday, Vikings linebacker Za’Darius Smith sent out a farewell to the organization, his teammates, and the coaches for the 2022 season. It seemingly hinted that he was leaving Minnesota.

After seeing that tweet, there had to be some fans hoping that their favorite team would make a run at him. Hey, what about a reunion with the Green Bay Packers?

Well, we’re about to burst your bubble. And by we, we mean NFL Network national insider Ian Rapoport.

Za’Darius Smith unlikely to reunite with Packers, or join any team this offseason

According to Rapoport, Smith had officially requested his release from his contract with the Vikings. However, Minnesota has “no plans to do that,” and that the situation is “unresolved.”

Last offseason, Smith became an unrestricted free agent after the Packers released him from his contract. Let’s just say Smith wasn’t happy that the Packers released him when looking at the past year. After a deal with the Baltimore Ravens fell through, Smith signed with the Vikings on a three-year, $42 million contract.

In 16 games this past season, Smith recorded 44 combined tackles (32 solo, 12 assisted), 24 quarterback hits, 15 tackles for loss, 10 sacks, five passes defended, and one forced fumble.

According to Spotrac, if the Vikings were to release Smith prior to June 1, they would save $12.16 million in cap space and eat $3.33 million in dead cap in 2023. But if they were to wait after June 1, the Vikings would save $13.82 million in cap space in 2023, and eat $1.67 million in dead money in 2023 and 2024.

Smith has asked for his release, but the Vikings are not budging. This will be something worth keeping an eye on this offseason.

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