Vikings OLB Za’Darius Smith has been named NFC Defensive Player of the Week, the NFL announced today.
In the Week 8 victory against the Cardinals, Smith recorded seven tackles, 3.0 sacks, four tackles for loss and one pass defensed, joining Kevin Williams as the only other Viking in franchise history to secure that stat line in a single game. He also is the first player in the NFL to accomplish the feat since Buccaneers LB Devin White did so in 2020 (12/20 vs. ATL). Smith’s 3.0 sacks and four tackles for loss both led the NFL in Week 8.
Through the first eight weeks of the season, Smith leads the NFL in tackles for loss (13) and is tied for first in sacks (8.5) with Patriots OLB Matthew Judon despite playing one less game. Smith’s 8.5 sacks this season ties DT John Randle, DE Chris Doleman and DE Doug Martin for the fourth-most sacks through the first seven games in a season in franchise history. He has also recorded 37 QB pressures this season, marking the fourth-most in the NFL.
Smith is the first Viking to win the award since OLB Danielle Hunter won the award in 2019.
Minnesota(6-1), who is on a six-game winning streak, will travel to Washington to battle the Commanders on Sunday