Bears Say ‘No More’ to Ex-Vikings Playmaker

Return to the Champs
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The Chicago Bears dropped to 2-4 in 2022 during Week 6, an unflattering start for a team with a new general manager and head coach.

And Matt Eberflus’ squad is making a few changes in light of the lousy start, waiving former Vikings wideout Ihmir Smith-Marsette on Tuesday.

The Vikings selected Smith-Marsette in the 5th Round of the 2021 NFL Draft but surprisingly released the Iowa alumnus when Jalen Reagor joined the team via trade before the regular season began. Smith-Marsette was considered an unpolished gem on the Vikings roster, so his release was met with mixed reviews by fans.

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However, with six weeks of the 2022 season in the rearview, jettisoning Smith-Marsette now looks like a marvelous strategic decision by Minnesota’s front office and coaching staff. Smith-Marsette’s “welcome to Chicago” resume was rocky — to say the least — and resembles an audition for America’s Funniest Home Videos.

The 23-year-old was beset by drops, penalties, fumbles, and generalized futility. Onlookers of the Bears have demanded his release for a couple of weeks — before it finally occurred on Tuesday. The former Viking even fired up this game-ending folly versus the Vikings in Week 5.

Cameron Dantzler "Strip" of Ihmir Smith-Marsette
Cameron Dantzler “Strip” of Ihmir Smith-Marsette

In cutting ties with Smith-Marsette, wide receiver Isaiah Coulter joined the Bears active roster from the practice squad. Coulter participated in three Bears games last year. Amid limited action, Coulter was a non-factor in 2021. He was on the Houston Texans roster in 2020.

While it’s possible for Smith-Marsette to end up back on Chicago’s practice squad, that may be unlikely due to the severity of his struggles. He might become a true-blue free agent, and the market won’t be robust for his services.

In 2021 as a rookie, Smith-Marsette caught 5 passes for 114 yards and 2 touchdowns. Many Vikings enthusiasts envisioned a WR4 role for him in 2022, but the job ultimately became the aforementioned Reagor’s.

2-Way Battle Foreseen for Vikings WR4
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports.

The Bears still have eight former Vikings on their roster, though:

  • Khari Blasingame (FB)
  • Dakota Dozier (OG, IR)
  • DeMarquis Gates (LB, PS)
  • Harrison Hand (CB, PS)
  • Jalyn Holmes (DE)
  • Riley Reiff (OT)
  • Trevor Siemian (QB)
  • Armon Watts (DT)

Minnesota and Chicago meet again in Week 18 to close the regular season at Soldier Field.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).