Cameron Dantzler Gets a New Gig

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

Certainly not the offseason that Cameron Dantlzer would have wanted, but at least he keeps getting opportunities.

Per KPRC’s Aaron Wilson, Dantlzer is signing with the Houston Texans: “#Texans are signing veteran corner Cameron Dantzler following a successful workout, per a league source.” The 25-year-old corner (on September 3rd) thus gets to be part of DeMeco Ryans’ rebuild in The Lone Star State.

Somewhat surprisingly, the Vikings opted to move on from Dantzler back in March. In so doing, they subtracted a young, promising corner at precisely the time that they were looking to rebuild their defense. Clearly, Kevin O’Connell and Kwesi Adofo-Mensah didn’t think the corner (who was still operating on a rookie contract) was a good fit. He has since gone on to have a very peculiar journey.

The Winding Career of Cameron Dantzler

It’s a topic we’ve considered previously: Cameron Dantzler has had a strange career.

In 2020, Dantzler showed plenty of promise. He made the NFL All-Rookie Team following a year that had some ups and downs, but plenty of impact plays.

Bills Pilfer
Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports.

In 11 games (with 10 starts), Dantzler had 601 snaps. He put up 46 tackles, 2 interceptions, 1 forced fumble, and 4 PDs. He kicked in a fumble recovery and 3 TFLs. The assessment on PFF resulted in a solid 70.9 grade. Not elite, but very good (especially for a rookie).

Dantzler continued to show plenty of potential as a sophomore. He had 53 tackles, 8 PDs, and an INT.

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Just 54.1% of passes into his coverage went for completions. He held receivers to just 8.7 yards per reception and QBs had just a 74.7 passer rating when going after him. PFF joined the fun, tossing Dantlzer a 73.8 grade. True, there was a disconnect between him and Mike Zimmer, but Dantzler had won over many Vikings fans.

Last year, things didn’t go smoothly for the corner. Like so many others in the Ed Donatell defense, Dantzler struggled with his coverage numbers, allowing 77.4% of passes into his coverage to be completed while allowing a 111.1 passer rating. His PFF grade sunk down to 63.1.

Popular Vikings Podcast
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Given his speed (or lack thereof), Dantzler seemed like an odd fit for Brian Flores. Could the 4th-year corner be left in man coverage? There was some skepticism, but the cut was still a surprise. A defense with much to prove at corner moved on from one who is in his mid-20s and who has (at times) been an effective player.

His time ended in Minnesota, leading to short-term employment in both Washington and Buffalo. Neither spot worked out. Each team decided to move on from the enigmatic corner with plenty of offseason left, leaving many Vikings fans confused about where the CB would end up.

In Houston, Dantzler will be competing with players like Shaquill Griffin, Tavierre Thomas, Derek Stingley Jr., and Steven Nelson for a spot in the lineup. He’ll look to regain some of the abilties that made him such an intriguing player in Minnesota from 2020-21.

The Texans and Vikings aren’t scheduled to play in 2023. Houston is the fourth NFL team to employ Dantzler this year alone.

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