Panthers Land Another Former Vikings Defender

NFL: Carolina Panthers-Training Camp
Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Over the past two offseasons, the Carolina Panthers have signed a number of former Vikings players.

Most notably amongst this group was their Adam Thielen signing last spring, and the veteran wide receiver caught 103 passes for 1014 yards and four touchdowns during the 2023 campaign.

This week, the Panthers landed yet another former Vikings player as they signed defensive lineman T.J. Smith to a new deal.

Another Former Vikings Defender Heads to the Panthers

Jun 7, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive lineman T.J. Smith (50) performs a drill during mandatory mini camp at TCO Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Kaye of the Charlotte Observer had a scoop on the signing, tweeting, “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 spent his collegiate career with the Arkansas Razorbacks from 2015-19, recording 75 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, five sacks and a forced fumble. He then went undrafted in 2020 and signed with the Los Angeles Chargers as an undrafted free agent.

He spent the 2020 season on LA’s practice squad, but he didn’t get a chance to appear in any games. Prior to the start of the 2021 season, Smith was waived, and ever since then, he has been with the Vikings.

Vikings Defensive Tackle
Oct 15, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle T.J. Smith (50) and defensive tackle Harrison Phillips (97) tackle Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) during the first half at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports

Throughout his three seasons with the Vikings, Smith appeared in four games and recorded 11 tackles as well as a tackle for loss. Similarly to his stint with the Chargers, Smith spent the majority of his tenure in Minnesota on the practice squad, but he was signed to the 53-man roster down the stretch of the 2023 season.

This is the full Carolina defensive tackle room after the Smith addition:

  • Derrick Brown
  • A’Shawn Robinson
  • LaBryan Ray
  • Jaden Crumedy
  • Popo Aumavaue
  • T.J. Smith

It’s a rather thin group, so Smith should have a decent chance to make the final 53-man roster.

Aug 24, 2020; Costa Mesa California, USA; Los Angeles Chargers defensive tackle TJ Smith (77) participates in blocking drill during training camp at the Jack Hammett Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Other former Vikings on the Panthers’ roster at the moment include Mike Boone, Ihmir Smith-Marsette, Thielen, Luiji Vilain, D.J. Wonnum, and Xavier Woods.

Editor’s Note: Statistics for this article were found via Pro Football Reference and Sports Reference CFB.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.