The Minnesota Vikings are gearing up for a huge playoff showdown against the New York Giants at home this coming Sunday in the NFC Wild-Card Round. The Giants can be a very tough customer to deal with, but the Vikings can expect edge rusher Za’Darius Smith to be out there to help them stop Daniel Jones and company.
Za’Darius Smith did not play in the Vikings’ regular-season finale in Week 18 against the Chicago Bears on the road, but Minnesota still managed to take care of business in a 29-13 victory. With momentum on their side and home-field advantage, the Vikings are feeling good about their chances in this rematch against the Giants, especially with Smith expected to play (via Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press).
For our Vikings-Giants preview and full Wild Card playoff predictions, listen below:
“All is well now,” he said. “I’m fully healthy and ready to go for the playoffs. … It was just soreness (after being hurt). Contusion, as they call it, but happy to be back. I’m 100 percent and ready to go.”
Za’Darius and the Vikings beat New York not so long ago. During their Week 16 matchup against the Giants, the Vikings leaned on the performances of quarterback Kirk Cousins and tight end TJ Hockenson. Cousins passed for 299 yards and three touchdowns without an interception on 34 of 48 completions in that game, while Hockenson finished with 109 receiving yards and two touchdowns on 13 catches and 16 targets in a 27-24 win. Za’Darius Smith played in that game, too, appearing in 78 percent of defensive snaps.
The 30-year-old Za’Darius Smith is an integral part of the Vikings’ stop unit. He is second on the team with 10.0 sacks.