Viking from 2023 Roster Signs with Panthers

Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Cam Akers (RB), Anthony Barr (LB), Sheldon Day (DT), James Lynch (DT), Chris Reed (OG), Dalton Risner (OG), and Nick Vigil (LB) — those are the remaining Minnesota Vikings players from the 2023 roster unsigned by new teams as of mid-May.

Viking from 2023 Roster Signs with Panthers

But the list shrunk on Monday when defensive tackle T.J. Smith found a new NFL home. He’s now a Carolina Panther.

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The Charlotte Observer’s Mike Kaye tweeted Monday, “The Panthers have added outside linebacker Cam Gill and defensive lineman TJ Smith to their roster. They had four open spots after rookie camp cuts, so no corresponding moves necessary. Gill won a Super Bowl ring during a 4-year run with the Bucs. Smith spent time with Vikings.”

Smith notably spent the last three seasons in Minnesota, seeing action in four games and a total of 86 defensive snaps. He was a depth defensive tackle behind Harrison Phillips during the last two years and evidently wasn’t a priority to re-sign this offseason.

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The veteran defender first entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the Los Angeles Chargers in 2020, where he landed on the practice squad and experienced no regular season playing time. He lasted in Los Angeles for about a year and a half before a release halfway through the 2021 season. The Mike Zimmer version of the Vikings signed him thereafter, and Smith stayed on the purple team’s roster in varying capacities through the end of 2023.

These are the Panthers’ defensive tackles after the Smith addition:

  • Derrick Brown
  • A’Shawn Robinson
  • LaBryan Ray
  • Jaden Crumedy
  • Popo Aumavaue
  • T.J. Smith
Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports.

Smith is a longshot to make the 53-man roster later this summer, but stranger things have happened. Without Smith, this is Minnesota’s defensive tackle situation, which many argue leaves a lot to be desired:

  • Harrison Phillips
  • Jerry Tillery
  • Jonathan Bullard
  • Jonah Williams
  • Jaquelin Roy
  • Levi Drake Rodriguez
  • Tyler Manoa
  • Taki Taimani

About two weeks ago, Smith met with the Detroit Lions, but no contract materialized. Instead, he’ll join the Panthers, a team on tap for 5.5 wins in 2024, according to sportsbooks.

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Carolina’s defense ranked 25th per DVOA in 2023 and will hope for improvement this fall. Other former Vikings on the Panthers’ roster at the moment include Mike Boone, Ihmir Smith-Marsette, Adam Thielen, Luiji Vilain, D.J. Wonnum, and Xavier Woods.

Smith turned 27 last month.

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 Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by