Former Vikings Receiver Gets Traded to Carolina, Re-Unites with Thielen

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Moving on from Ihmir Smith-Marsette was a surprise to many.

The former Vikings receiver showed off some impressive speed toward the end of his rookie season, leaving some with the impression that he could complement Kevin O’Connell’s offense as a deep threat. In the end, that assumption proved misguided as the Vikings instead opted for Jalen Nailor (a Kwesi Adofo-Mensah selection) and Jalen Reagor (a Kwesi Adofo-Mensah trade acquisition) for that role.

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Smith-Marsette has bounced around the league a bit, joining the Bears before signing with the Chiefs. The latest news comes courtesy of The NFL Network‘s Ian Rapoport: “Trade: The #Panthers traded for #Chiefs WR and returner Ihmir Smith-Marsette in a swap of conditional 2025 seventh-rounders.”

Carolina is Smith-Marsette’s fourth team as he enters his third NFL season.

Former Vikings Receiver Gets Traded to Carolina

During the offseason, the Vikings made the difficult decision to move on from Adam Thielen. He’ll be remembered as one of the franchise’s all-time great players, a receiver who comes in a bit below Cris Carter, Randy Moss, and, indeed, Justin Jefferson. Not bad for a local kid who made it as an UDFA.

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Carolina secured Thielen’s services for a 3-year agreement worth a total of $25 million. Not a bad payday for the veteran, especially since he’s coming off several relatively quiet years statistically. The last time he surpassed 1,000 yards was back in 2018, which can feel like an eternity for the NFL. Regardless, the focus now rests in helping Bryce Young — the #1 pick in the most recent draft — acclimate to the NFL as the Panthers begin their ascent up the standings.

Ihmir Smith-Marsette joins Thielen in that ambition.

Still only 24 (his birthday is today), Smith-Marsette has the potential to grow in Carolina alongside the recently-drafted QB for years to come. He has some decent size as a 6’1″, 185-pound receiver. Prior to the draft in 2021, Smith-Marsette ran a 4.43 forty, a rock-solid number for someone looking to challenge defenses deep.

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Prying him away from Kansas City cost just “a swap of conditional 2025 seventh-rounders,” so the implication is that the former Vikings receiver wasn’t going to make the final roster for Andy Reid. Kansas City gets the chance to recoup a bit of draft capital while Carolina pays a small price to bring in a receiving weapon whom they think is capable of helping get their team heading in the right direction.

As a Viking, Smith-Marsette had 5 receptions go for 116 yards and a pair of TDs. He wasn’t able to match or surpass the modest output with either Chicago or Kansas City, but the young receiver still has potential.

Adding a bit more intrigue to the whole situation is that the Vikings and Panthers are going to play each other in not too long. In Week 4, the Vikings travel to Carolina.

Upon first glance, the Panthers contest looks like one of the more winnable games on the schedule, but a road battle against a Frank Reich team will have its challenges. Making things even more fascinating is that both Thielen and Smith-Marsette will be ultra motivated to have a good day at the office.

Meanwhile, the Vikings have joined the trade fun by sending Vederian Lowe to the Patriots, a move that brought Kwesi up to 16 trades as the Vikings’ GM. The team needs to get down to 53 players by 3 p.m. CDT.

Editor’s Note: Information from Pro Football Reference and Over the Cap helped with this piece.