Talk about holding a grudge.
Former Green Bay Packers pass-rusher Za’Darius Smith admitted this week that he didn’t sign a three-year deal with the Minnesota Vikings because of money or someone on the team he wanted to play with. A main reason he signed with them is that they are a close rival to the Packers — and Smith wants to face them twice a year to exact revenge.
The two-time Pro Bowler told Tyler Dunne of “Go Long” that Green Bay appeared to treat him differently after he injured his back and had to have surgery. According to Smith, he was treated badly from that point on, right up to the point that Smith was released by the Packers last March to free up cap space.
“I put my back on the f—ing line,” Smith said. “I put everything. And that year three, I was treated bad. That’s why I’m here now. So, I can play them twice a year.”
Smith’s opportunity for revenge is rapidly approaching as Minnesota hosts Green Bay in its season-opener this weekend. According to Smith, he will be delivering the pregame speech to the locker room and he has been preparing it for months.
What Smith’s exact plan is for revenge is unknown, although simply getting the win isn’t out of the question. While the Packers lead the all-time head-to-head series 64-56-3, the Vikings have won two of the last three games between the two teams.
Kickoff for Vikings vs. Packers is set for 4:25 p.m. ET on Sunday.