The Vikings 2023 CB Room Shrank with 1 Cut

After releasing linebacker Eric Kendricks on Monday and Adam Thielen four days later, the Minnesota Vikings parted ways with cornerback Cameron Dantzler, continuing cap-clearing measures in anticipation of next week’s free agency period.

Dantzler, 24, will hit free agency for the first time and attempt a career reclamation.

The Vikings 2023 CB Room Shrank with 1 Cut

ESPN’s Kevin Seifert tweeted Friday, “The Vikings have waived CB Cameron Dantzler. We haven’t talked too much about his pending departure, but the writing was on the wall after he gave up 2 TDs in Week 14 vs. Lions. Hardly played after that. He’ll clear $2.74 million from the salary cap.”

Vikings 2023 CB Room
Jul 28, 2022; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Cameron Dantzler (3) during training camp at TCO Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

The Mississippi Statue alumnus showed several flashes of promise since entering the NFL as a 3rd-Round draft pick in 2020 but finished three consecutive seasons with a whimper due to injury or otherwise. Dantzler fired up a commendable 70.9 Pro Football Focus grade as a rookie, followed by an even better 73.8 score in 2021. But after getting injured midseason in 2022, Dantzler never seemed to recover and lost a starting job to Duke Shelley, who is also a current free agent.

The Dantzler move puts the Vikings cornerback room in utter need of remedy, with Andrew Booth, Akayleb Evans, Tay Gowan, and Kalon Barnes under contract. And all four of those men are players Vikings fans had never heard of one year ago. Veterans Patrick Peterson and the aforementioned Shelley could still return within the next week or so, but the cornerback chunk of the depth chart needs bonafide starters.

Overhyped Cowboys Next Test for 8-1 Vikings
Oct 31, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Cameron Dantzler (27) tackles Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) late in the fourth quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Blewett-USA TODAY Sports.

The Vikings are now $7.4 million over the cap as of Friday night. More releases, contractual restructures, and trades are on the way, possibly this weekend, as general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah pushes under the cap and above board financially to sign new free agents next week. Minnesota hired Brian Flores in February to run the defense in 2023, and at the moment, he doesn’t have reliable cornerbacks or linebackers. Even pass rusher Za’Darius Smith tweeted a goodbye on Thursday.

Cameron Dantzler Provides Injury Update
Oct 9, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Cameron Dantzler Sr. (3) comes off the field after the game against the Chicago Bears at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Vikings fans and pundits knew the offseason would entail defensive change, but Dantzler wasn’t necessarily on the list of probable cuts. He was affordable, young, and possessed the “upside” label. Accordingly, Dantzler will latch onto another NFL team, probably soon, and own a CB2 or CB3 role while hoping to claw his way back as a starter.

The Vikings drafted 15 players (!!!) in the 2020 draft class, and three years later, eight remain on the roster:

  • Justin Jefferson (WR)
  • Ezra Cleveland (OG)
  • Troy Dye (LB)
  • James Lynch (DT)
  • D.J. Wonnum (OLB)
  • K.J. Osborn (WR)
  • Josh Metellus (S)
  • Blake Brandel (OT)

Adofo-Mensah owns the 23rd overall pick in April’s draft if he wishes to use the choice on a Dantzler replacement.

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,’ and The Doors (the band).

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