Cameron Dantzler’s Special Dedication for 2022 Season

Dec 26, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Van Jefferson (12) and Minnesota Vikings cornerback Cameron Dantzler (27) battle for a pass from quarterback Matthew Stafford (not pictured) in the end zone during the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. The pass was incomplete. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Minnesota Vikings third-year cornerback Cameron Dantzler changed his jersey number this offseason from 27 to 3. He’s implied on social media the switch will enable a little extra gridiron juice.

And that’s not the only motivator used by the defensive back. Dantzler posted to Instagram on Wednesday a dedication of the upcoming season to his fallen friend and former teammate, Jeff Gladney.

Gladney was killed in a car accident at the end of May.

Dantzler and Gladney were rookie teammates in the 2020 season, drafted a day apart. Minnesota reconditioned its secondary after the free-agent departures of Xavier Rhodes, Trae Wayes, and Mackensie Alexander two years ago. Dantzler and Gladney were pegged as the infusion of youth replacing the three cornerbacks.

Gladney was tenacious as a rookie, often hitting and tackling like a safety more than a corner. Dantzler was prototypical CB who showcased a solid rookie campaign, following the first year with a commendable sophomore effort after exiting Mike Zimmer’s strange doghouse.

But Gladney’s NFL career was regrettably limited to one season, released by the Vikings in 2021 after he was accused of assault in Texas. Months later, Gladney was acquitted of all charges and signed with the Arizona Cardinals, where he was slated to start and effectuate a career reclamation.

Jeff Gladney
Aug 28, 2020; Eagan, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive back Jeff Gladney (20) at practice at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Sadly, on May 30th, Gladney and a woman named Andrea Mercedes Palacios died in an automobile accident in Dallas. The Dallas County Sheriff’s Office mentioned speed as a contributing factor.

Paying homage to his fallen friend, Dantzler will embark on Year 3 inside a new defense with a fresh coaching staff. He’s scheduled to start alongside Patrick Peterson or rookie Andrew Booth, although formal roster roles will be determined in training camp and the preseason.

Gladney was 25 years old.

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).