Eagan, Minn. (Nov. 2, 2022) – 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 has been named NFC Defensive Player of the Week three times throughout his career (Week 4, 2020 and Week 6, 2018). He is the first Viking to win the award since OLB Danielle Hunter won the award in 2019. Smith is the first player to win NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors under Vikings Head Coach Kevin O’Connell. The Vikings have won a Player of the Week award three times this season.
VIKINGS NAMED NFC PLAYER OF THE WEEK UNDER O’CONNELL
Greg Joseph, K
2022, Week 4, vs. New Orleans (London)
Ryan Wright, P
2022, Week 6, at Miami
Za’Darius Smith, OLB
2022, Week 8, vs. Arizona