The Minnesota Vikings are heading into Week 11 tied for the best record in the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles. They lost the head-to-head matchup with Philadelphia, so the Eagles possess the tiebreaker, but Minnesota has to feel great about where they are.
Coming off of a remarkable come-from-behind victory over the Buffalo Bills on the road, the Vikings have to be on cloud nine. They have a strong team on both sides of the ball and look like legitimate contenders.
This could be the year that they finally get everything on the same page. For years, it was one side of the ball thriving and the other struggling. In 2022, they are getting good contributions on both sides of the ball.
Minnesota is certainly counting their lucky stars when it comes to the defensive side of the ball. They made a big splash in the offseason, signing pass rusher Za’Darius Smith in free agency. It was originally reported that Smith would be heading to the Baltimore Ravens, the team he began his NFL career with.
Alas, he backed out of the four-year, $35 million deal worth up to $50 to sign a three-year, $42 million deal with the Vikings worth up to $47. Minnesota could not be happier about how things panned out as Smith has been a terror rushing the passer this season.
Smith leads the team with 9.5 sacks on the season, picking up right where he left off after playing in only one game last season with the Green Bay Packers because of a back injury. That puts him in a tie for second place with Nick Bosa of the San Francisco 49ers behind only Matt Judon of the New England Patriots, who has 11.5.
However, when it comes to pressuring the quarterback, there isn’t a person that comes close to Smith. According to CBS Sports, Smith leads the league with 55 pressures on the season for the Vikings. The next closest is Bosa with 45 and Judon with 44.
Smith is a one-man wrecking crew for the Vikings when it comes to getting after the quarterback and disrupting the opponent’s offense. He also has 14 tackles for loss, which leads the league, and four passes defended as he is giving Minnesota all that they had hoped for and more.