Well, At Least Dantzler Gave Us a Strong Game
Folks, I’m doing my best to take a glass-half-full approach.
Yesterday’s loss to the Browns was painful. We looked completely inept and uninspired even though one could argue that the game was of more importance than the Seattle one. As I cautioned, our offense was in trouble once Cleveland found a way to neutralize the short & intermediate areas of the field. The result was far more deep passes from the offense, leading Cleveland to a whopping 30 pressures.
As you can see, I’m as discouraged as the next guy when it comes to the purple offense. What of Cam Dantlzer, though?
Bashaud Breeland began the game yesterday with yet another mental error that resulted in a sizable completion.
Mike Zimmer said cornerback Bashaud Breeland left the game because of an illness; "he was sick." But Breeland didn't play again after being the closest defender on a 21-yard pass that converted a third and 10 for Cleveland. Zimmer didn't offer evaluation of Cameron Dantzler.
— Andrew Krammer (@Andrew_Krammer) October 3, 2021
After that error, Dantzler came into the game. He played the rest of the way, finishing with 72 defensive snaps (92% overall). He finished with 5 tackles, showing good decisiveness and physicality as a run defender. He has always been good against the run.
He also made an impact in pass defense. Here is what PFF had to say about our secondary in its entirety: “The Vikings’ secondary may have been the team’s strongest unit in Week 4, smothering the Browns’ passing attack in the loss. The group didn’t allow a single Cleveland pass-catcher to finish with more than five receptions.” Obviously, the other defensive backs deserve some praise. It’s no coincidence, though, that the unit played better when Dantzler is there. Baker Mayfield was awful yesterday; Dantzler was still solid.
By the end of the day, Dantzler was one of Minnesota’s best defenders, finishing with a 74.5 PFF grade. For the season, Breeland has a 32.0 score, which is last overall in PFF‘s rankings.
We now head into a Week 5 matchup with the Detroit Knee Biters. Playing the Lions during a slump is like getting a beautiful bowl of chicken soup when you’re sick. It’s a true comfort, something that tends to make oneself feel better.
Dantzler clearly deserves to start next week. I don’t want to see any Jared Goff long bombs while Breeland looks on, confused about his coverage assignment. Nay, give me Dantzler and give me a 2-3 record.
Editor’s Note: This post originally appeared on Purple PTSD.