Titans Analyst Has Bizarre Trade Idea for Vikings

Rick Spielman Downplays Former Team's Draft Pick Forfeiture
Aug 14, 2020; Eagan, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

What should a football team do when its best cornerback is recently beset by an injury that will last one month?

Trade away the next-best cornerback.

That’s the mindset of an ESPN analyst who covers the Tennessee Titans, at least.

The Titans just lost their rookie corner, Caleb Farley, to a season-ending injury on Monday, plopping the team into the market for an emergency replacement. According to Davenport, that man should be Vikings CB Cameron Dantzler.

The Vikings signed Patrick Peterson on St. Patrick’s Day last March, setting up the veteran corner for a career reclamation in Minnesota. Peterson’s career with the Arizona Cardinals was nearly Hall of Fame-worthy, but his production dipped in 2020 when Arizona changed how it used the All-Pro. So, Peterson opted not to re-sign in the desert and wound up with the Vikings. He performed wonderfully in Minnesota’s first six games but will now miss one month due to a hamstring injury.

That’s the blatant, smack-you-in-the-face reason Davenport’s trade idea is looney. Suddenly, the Vikings are skimpy for cornerback depth, faced with relying on a combination of Dantzler, Bashaud Breeland, Mackensie Alexander, Harrison Hand, and Kris Boyd. The response to a lack of depth is not to trade away the depth.

Perhaps Davenport was unaware of Peterson’s medical setback.

He is partially correct about “buried” on the depth chart, though, for Dantzler. In the summer and the early part of the 2021 season, Dantzler mysteriously inhabited the coaching staff’s doghouse. The Vikings simply chose to give Peterson, Breeland, and Alexander the bulk of defensive snaps, recommending that Dantzler “work on his special teams play.”

Evidently, Dantzler did just that because he began playing again. While Dantzler was strangely buried about a month ago – he is not anymore. He can’t be. The Vikings wouldn’t have enough skilled bodies to cover opposing receivers if Dantzler was whimsically traded to the Titans.

Last year, Dantzler posted the NFL’s best Pro Football Focus grade among all rookie cornerbacks. When he had the pitstop in Mike Zimmer’s naughty box, this made the ordeal all the more frustrating. Why in the hell was the league’s best rookie corner lambasted for not learning special teams? Nobody cares, let the man cover wide receivers – was the mentality of fans.

By necessity, the kumbaya between Dantzler and Zimmer is underway. The Vikings need Dantzler available – and playing at a high level – to cover the pass-catchers of the Dallas Cowboys on Halloween: Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb. Whatever beef existed between Dantzler and Zimmer is now heading to the backburner because Peterson is shelved for at least three games.

Dantzler was whispered in trade rumors to the San Francisco 49ers around the time he was peeved about lack of playing time. General Manager Rick Spielman didn’t trade him then – probably because the CB depth would rot in the event of an injury to Peterson or Breeland. We’ve arrived at the Peterson injury scenario, and Dantzler emphatically will not be traded now.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).