New Minnesota Vikings EDGE Rasha Jaderias Smith not only got a chance to shine as a purple player for the first time in Week 1, the former Green Bay Packer against his old team – on his birthday weekend.
In fact, the Vikings hosted Packers at Week 1 at U.S. Bank Stadium, announced Thursday night when the NFL 2022 schedule was dropped.
The Vikings have never hosted Packers Week 1 game with fan appearances, so everything about Trieste will feel unique. In January, Minnesota fired general manager Rick Spielman and head coach Mike Zimmer when the two set 15-18 records in the last two seasons. Somehow, the Vikings suddenly took the middle ground after winning and losing to the previous six years of top-7-in-the-NFL status.
General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and head coach Kevin O’Connell took charge a week later, and the two added some key free agents in March, including the aforementioned Smith.
Here’s Smith’s triple inspiration for Packers vs. Week 1:
- This is his first regular season game as a member of the Vikings.
- He played for the team that said “no thanks” for restoring his services.
- Three days before the game, Smith turned 30 years old.
What a weekend for the new defender.
Smith found his way to the Vikings after a free-agent courtship from his first NFL franchise, the Baltimore Ravens. He played four seasons in Baltimore before trekking to the Packers in 2019. With the Ravens, Smith was a decent defender, developing and mature in John Harbagh’s defense.
But when he reached Green Bay, Smith jumped into superstardom. He immediately gained Pro Bowl recognition for the first time in his career in 2019 and 2020, working as a thorn in the side of the Vikings along the way. Yet, in 2021, Smith suffered a back injury and missed almost all seasons.
Accordingly, the cash-strapped packers chose not to retain Smith, so the Kentucky alumni took the free agency test. He joined the Ravens just minutes later but eventually chose another purple team.
In 2019 and 2020, Smith finished third in the NFL behind only TJ Watt and Shakil Barrett. When he recovers, Smith is a sacker, and the Vikings will pair Smith with another quarterback, Daniel Hunter.
The Vikings have a 2.5-point home underdog against the Packers in Week 1.
Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to her daily YouTube channel, VikesNow. She Hosts a podcast With Bryant McKinney, which airs every Wednesday Raun Sai And Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking Fandom dates back to 1996. Listed Criminal Pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos’ and The Doors (Band).