Once-Promising Vikings Defender Waived by 4th Team in 6 Months

Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports.

The rollercoaster continues.

Former Minnesota Vikings cornerback Cameron Dantzler failed to make the Houston Texans 53-man roster Tuesday, waived amid roster cuts, and will now hope to latch onto Houston’s practice squad.

Once-Promising Vikings Defender Waived by 4th Team in 6 Months

Waived by 4th team
Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports.

Dantzler, 24, has been dropped by four teams since March, including the Vikings, Washington Commanders, Buffalo Bills, and Texans this week.

Minnesota waived Dantzler on March 10th. He was scooped off waivers soon after by the Commanders, who later said sayonara to Dantzler in May. On June 7th, the Bills signed Dantzler to their 90-man roster, where he’d presumably vie for a regular season roster spot. And seven weeks later, Buffalo waived Dantzler as well.

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

But the NFL’s summer training camps and preseason are windy and bendy places, stuffed to the gills with roster movement, and the young defender received another chance about a week ago in Houston. Dantzler even made the most of his opportunity with the Texans, grabbing a game-sealing preseason interception last Sunday.

A helluva a play indeed, the pick wasn’t quite enough for Houston, at least not for a 53-man roster spot. Houston will embark on the regular season with this batch of CBs:

CB1: Derek Stingley Jr.
CB2: Steven Nelson
CB3: Tavierre Thomas
CB4: Shaquill Griffin
CB5: Ka’dar Hollman

Former Viking Can Reach
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Dantzler showed various flashes of productivity since entering the NFL as a 3rd-Round draft pick in 2020 but finished three straight seasons with a whimper due to injury or otherwise. Dantzler fired up a praiseworthy 70.9 Pro Football Focus grade as a rookie, followed by an even better 73.8 score in 2021. Yet, after getting injured midseason in 2022, Dantzler never seemed to recover and lost his starting job.

Vikings fans and pundits knew the 2023 offseason would entail defensive change, but Dantzler wasn’t necessarily on the list of probable cuts. He was inexpensive, young, and possessed the “upside” label. Still, Minnesota parted ways with the Mississippi State alumnus, adding newcomer CBs Byron Murphy and Mekhi Blackmon.

The Vikings Final Injury Report: Week 10
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports.

Last year, Dantzler scored a game-sealing fumble recovery — which was really just Dantzler swiping a football away from former teammate Ihmir Smith-Marsette — over the Chicago Bears at U.S. Bank Stadium. It turned out to be his biggest highlight of the season and perhaps his career.

The 24-year-old would be a perfect candidate for a team’s practice squad, probably the Texans, in light of his recent stay and preseason heroics.

Two former Vikings did make the Texans 53-man cutoff — running back Mike Boone and quarterback Case Keenum.

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 Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.