4 potential destinations for Panthers LB Shaq Thompson in 2023

(Photo by Jane Gershovich/Getty Images) Shaq Thompson
(Photo by Jane Gershovich/Getty Images) Shaq Thompson /
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Carolina Panthers
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Shaq Thompson /

Minnesota Vikings

If the Carolina Panthers do end up releasing Shaq Thompson with one year remaining on his deal, there should be a queue of suitors looking to bring him on board. His production last season indicates there is plenty left in the tank and there’s a lot to be said for having veteran leadership within the locker room to further help his cause.

One team that might be in need of linebacking assistance is the Minnesota Vikings. Eric Kendricks and Jordan Hicks are both cut candidates based on their salaries and indifferent performances in 2022, so reinforcing this crucial area could be among the team’s top priorities if both depart in the not-too-distant future.

Much will depend on who comes in as Minnesota’s defensive coordinator after Ed Donatell was fired in the immediate aftermath of their playoff loss to the New York Giants. But from the outside looking in, Thompson looks like a decent fit.

The Vikings’ window to legitimately contend is closing slightly with aging players on defense and quarterback Kirk Cousins approaching his career twilight. If they remain in win-now mode next season and Thompson becomes available, an approach might not be too far behind.

Money is tight in Minnesota right now thanks in no small part to Cousins’ whopping $36.25 million cap number. However, Thompson might accept less to land on a playoff hopeful considering the $11.3 million he’ll get from the Panthers with an early release.