Let me Reid between the lines…
Long before this season even started, I had concerns about the Vikings offensive line — namely the right and left guards. My worry was warranted on the right side where a revolving door of players have performed poorly, but I’ve been dead wrong about Dakota Dozier on the left.
The Vikings signed the “Bull Dozier” in April of 2019 after he was released by the New York Jets. The 6’4” 312 lb guard played periodically last year as a backup, and he has performed well in a starting role this year.
As left guards go, Pro Football Focus gives Dozier an average rating of 50.5 overall. That rating looks particularly good when compared to Vikings right guards Dru Samia (33.3) and Ezra Cleveland (43.8). Dozier holds his own in pass protection and opens some nice holes for Cook in the run game. Thankfully, he hasn’t proven to be a liability like his predecessors (Tom Compton, Pat Elflein, etc.).
Dozier’s performance has had a positive impact on the left side of the offensive line, as tackle Riley Reiff and center Garrett Bradbury are having career years. This is not the case on the right, where struggles at guard are putting added stress on tackle Brian O’Neill. In just six games, the normally exceptional O’Neill has already given up twice as many sacks as last year.
Considering Minnesota’s lack of cap space and disinterest in spending big money on offensive linemen, Dakota really fits the bill from a financial perspective. He only makes $1,000,000 a year, which is a real bargain when compared to the league’s highest paid offensive linemen who make over $20,000,000.
Let’s take a look at some of Dozier’s best plays:
Dozier (78) helps center Garrett Bradbury with his block, before getting to the second level and clearing the way for Dalvin Cook.
Dozier starts the play with a good punch, and then executes a legal hold to pull Jarran Reid (90) out of Cook’s way.
Dozier works in tandem with left tackle Riley Reiff to redirect a Falcons defender away from Cousins.
Dozier stops a defensive end that tries to sneak inside of Reiff (71).
Dozier gets good leverage on Atlanta linebacker Bruce Carter (55), helping to create an excellent pocket for Cousins.
With his good production and low price tag, the Vikings are lucky to have Dozier at left guard.