Vikings Shockingly Waive Another Player

Vikings Starter Hits the Shelf Indefinitely
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The 2023 off-season has always been expected to be a tumultuous one and the last few days have been turbulent. Firing Ed Donatell after the disastrous postseason loss was the first move, replacing him with Brian Flores the second. Releasing players is the next step to getting under the salary cap and fixing the defense.

At first, Eric Kendricks had to pack his bags after spending his first eight career seasons with the organization. Adam Thielen had to leave as well. He joined the Vikings in 2013 but the hometown hero didn’t play up to his contract in recent years. There are still rumors surrounding Harrison Smith, Dalvin Cook, and Za’Darius Smith. The 2023 Vikings will look a lot different than the 2022 version.

Vikings Shockingly Waive Another Player

Vikings Shockingly Waive Another Player
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

On the same day as the announcement of the release of veteran Adam Thielen, the Vikings announced another roster move. While Thielen’s release swirled around the Vikings’ orbit for a while, this one came as a surprise. The team waived Cameron Dantzler after three seasons with the club.

The cornerback was a third-round pick in 2020, probably the organization’s best draft in the last few years. However, he didn’t even stay on the team for the duration of his cheap rookie deal. Dantzler had to start in his rookie campaign and played well. He was the top cornerback of the 2020 Vikings, a team that had just lost Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes, and Mackensie Alexander in free agency. The rookie stepped up and looked phenomenal at the end of the season after some early rookie struggles.

However, Dantzler couldn’t continue to play at that level which indicates that head coach Mike Zimmer probably helped him with his scheme in 2020 and protected him as well as possible. The fact that Dantzler was stuck behind Beshaud Breeland in 2021 was a strange move for most spectators.

Former Viking Can Reach
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Once Zimmer left and a new coaching staff took over, folks expected Dantzler to have a breakout campaign but that never happened. He started opposite Patrick Peterson and the struggles were acceptable but he certainly didn’t play great football. Dantzler sprained his ankle in Week 9 against Washington and missed some time.

After his comeback in Week 14 against the Lions, a game in which he gave up two scores, Dantzler missed time with a “personal matter” but it is still unknown what happened. It is possible that he simply landed in the doghouse of another coaching staff. In Week 17 against the Packers, Dantzler played his last game for the Vikings as a non-starter. He was inactive in Week 18 and in the postseason.

In three seasons with the Vikings, Dantzler played 35 games for the team, including 26 starts. He managed to pick off opposing QBs three times. His best play was arguably the game-clinching forced fumble against the Bears in Week 5 of the 2022 season when he ripped the ball out of Ihmir Smit-Marsette’s hands.

Vikings Week 16
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Dantzler is an unrestricted free agent once he clears waivers. The Vikings save $2,742,000 in cap space. Dantzler should have some interested teams in free agency, especially because he is only 24 years old.

The move is a strange one because the Vikings’ CB room is a nightmare. The four players under contract are 2022 rookies Akayleb Evans, Andrew Booth Jr., and Kalon Barnes in addition to Tay Gowan. Expect Kwesi Adofo-Mensah to be active in free agency and the draft in an attempt to fix that position of need. The Vikings need three starting-caliber cornerbacks and could be in the market for a top free agent. Arguably the best one available is former Buccaneers’ CB, Jamel Dean but he will be expensive.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt