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Players head to greener pastures for a variety of reasons, whether it’s more playing time, closer to family or a bigger paycheck. But for some like Za’Darius Smith, there’s a revenge-esque reason for why he chose to play for the Vikings in his next chapter.

The edge rusher said to Tyler Dunne of Go Long that he signed his three-year deal with Minnesota so he could face his former team—Green Bay—twice this season. Smith wasn’t thrilled with how his time with the Packers ended. 

“Walking past me not saying nothing. ‘Z, how’s your back doing?’—there was none of that,” Smith said. “As you can see, that adds on to why I’m on the other side. So, I can go back. I get to go back two times a year. … I put my back on the f------ line. 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.” 

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During the 2021 offseason, Smith suffered a back injury. He played only in the season opener against the Saints before making the decision to undergo surgery. He returned for the Packers’ playoff loss to the 49ers before subsequently being released in March. 

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