Bears Say ‘No More’ to Ex-Vikings Playmaker
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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).