Former Viking off to Rough Start in Chicago

Dakota Dozier
Jan 3, 2021; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Minnesota Vikings offensive guard Dakota Dozier. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports.

When the Chicago Bears landed for Minnesota Vikings guard Dakota Dozier in free agency, the franchise was unusually excited about it.

It’s not uncommon for a team to show excitement about a free-agent acquisition, but when Dozier last played, he was among the worst offensive guards in the NFL. Correspondingly, he was not retained by the Vikings new front office this offseason.

But the Bears wanted Dozier, and that’s what is important for the 31-year-old.

Unfortunately for his sake, Dozier encountered a hiccup last week and is now headed to Chicago’s injured reserve designation, substantially reducing his chances of playing for the Bears in 2022.

And anything reading knee injury, especially in summer activities, doesn’t bode well for the player.

Dozier was drafted in the 4th Round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the New York Jets, the same day the Vikings drafted Shamar Stephen. With New York, Dozier spent four seasons as a Jet before trekking to the Vikings in 2019. He followed former Vikings coordinator Rick Dennison from The Big Apple to Minneapolis.

Dakota Dozier
Aug 18, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings offensive lineman Dakota Dozier. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

A spot starter with the Jets, Dozier played in 38 games for New York while starting seven contests. But when he arrived in Minneapolis, the Vikings gave Dozier a chance to actualize his fate as a starting guard, starting 20 games in three seasons. But he was plagued by a lowly 44.6 grade from Pro Football Focus in 2020, a season in which he played 100% of all Vikings offensive snaps.

The 44.6 PFF score was not good enough for a sequel from the Vikings, as Dozier didn’t take a single offensive snap in 2021.

After that, Dozier landed with the Bears, where he figured to compete for a starting gig. But Tuesday’s injury news seriously dampens that forecast.

In Dozier’s stead, Sam Mustipher or Willie Wright is likely the frontrunner to start in September. If the Bears aren’t impressed with Mustipher or Wright later on this summer, Ereck Flowers, Trey Hopkins, and Laurent Duvernay-Tardif are available on the free-agent market.

The Vikings play the Bears in Week 5 at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. 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).

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