Former Packers OLB Za’Darius Smith wins NFC Defensive Player of the Week for Week 8

Former Green Bay Packers edge rusher Za’Darius Smith was named the NFC’s Defensive Player of the Week after delivering three sacks, four tackles for loss and a pass breakup during the Minnesota Vikings’ win over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium.

No player had more sacks or tackles for loss in Week 8 than Smith.

The award is Smith’s first since Week 4 of the 2020 season when he produced three sacks, four tackles for loss and five quarterback hits during the Packers’ win over the Atlanta Falcons.

Smith, who played three seasons in Green Bay, has been a major addition for the Vikings in 2022. Despite playing in only seven games, Smith leads the NFL in tackles for losses with 13 and is tied for the NFL lead with 8.5 sacks. He also has 12 quarterback hits. Overall, Smith has a sack in six of seven games this season.

The Packers released Smith in a salary-cap move in March. The decision to part ways cleared over $13 million off the salary cap but also left almost $11.5 million in dead money on the team’s cap in 2022.

Smith played in just one game for the Packers in 2021 after needing back surgery to correct a significant injury. He was a two-time Pro Bowler and one-time All-Pro while with the Packeers.

The Vikings teamed Smith with former Packers outside linebackers coach Mike Smith, and the result – predictably – has been a bunch of disruptive plays.

In Week 1, Smith got some early revenge by sacking Aaron Rodgers during the Vikings’ blowout win.

Over three years in Green Bay, Smith delivered 26.0 sacks, 60 quarterback hits, 29 tackles for loss and five forced fumbles.

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Story originally appeared on Packers Wire