Corner Cure: Cameron Dantzler’s Return is Imminent

Week 16 Vikings Injury Report
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Vikings fans will be pleased to know that the defense will be getting some help. Cameron Dantzler’s return could happen as soon as this week.

Chris Tomasson of The Pioneer Press relays Kevin O’Connell’s assessment of the situation:

These Lions are not to be overlooked. Last week, they put up 40 points on Jacksonville. In the first meeting with Minnesota, Detroit put up 24 points. Given some of the concerns about Ed Donatell’s group, it wouldn’t be shocking to see Jared Goff lead his offense to somewhere within that 24-40 points range.

Making matters more difficult for the Vikings will be the absence of Akayleb Evans, who had to leave the most recent game due to injury concerns.

Cameron Dantzler’s return does help, though.

A third-round pick in the 2020 Draft, Dantzler has had an up-and-down start to his NFL career. He has made some brutal mistakes at critical times (like last season’s last-second loss to Detroit) but has also shown great physicality as a tackler and some strong coverage.

Currently, he is the 42nd corner on PFF (119 are considered). He has allowed nearly 78% of passes into his coverage to be completed, the highest rate of his career. QBs have a 105.2 passer rating when targeting him, which is also the worst of Dantzler’s young career. Thankfully, the season isn’t done yet, so he’ll have a chance to improve on these numbers.

If Dantzler gets back onto the field, then Duke Shelley will once again be the 3rd outside corner. Chandon Sullivan will continue as the team’s slot corner. Last Sunday, safety Josh Metellus got onto the field for a couple snaps. Perhaps we’ll see the depth safety help the secondary more as the season unfolds.

Ideally, a team will peak at the right time. Getting healthy as the playoffs near is a large part of the equation. Patrick Peterson has been playing excellently, so getting Dantzler back is huge. Whoever starts opposite the CB1 needs to be ready for a lot of targets.

Hopefully, we’ll get the chance to see Dantzler in Week 14 when Minnesota travels to Detroit. The game will begin at 12 CST.

Editor’s Note: Information from Pro Football Reference helped with this piece.