Cameron Dantzler’s Wild Ride Continues

Week 16 Vikings Injury Report
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Not long ago, Cameron Dantzler started for the Minnesota Vikings and was on a positive trajectory as a steady starter for the next 5-10 years.

For him, though, that must feel like decades ago.

Cameron Dantzler’s Wild Ride Continues

The New Orleans Saints dropped the 25-year-old on Monday, the latest chapter in an absolute rollercoaster 2023 for the Mississippi State alumnus. Pro Football Talk’s Charean Williams wrote, “The Saints waived cornerback Cameron Dantzler on Monday. Dantzler has bounced between the practice squad and active roster all season. He has played two games, but none since Oct. 1.”

Wild Ride
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Dantzler joined the Saints in September and later played nine special teams snaps altogether. Unless he’s re-signed to the practice squad in the coming days, Dantzler will hit the free-agent pool with his career in jeopardy.

Why? Well, the young defender has bounced like a pinball in 2023. Minnesota waived Dantzler on March 10th. He was scooped off waivers soon after by the Washington Commanders, who later said sayonara to Dantzler in May. On June 7th, the Buffalo 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. Then, during the NFL’s final roster trimdowns in August, Dantzler was an odd man out in Houston with the Texans. An adventure, indeed.

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As a visual, this is his career resume to date:

  • Minnesota Vikings (2020–2022)
  • Washington Commanders (2023)
  • Buffalo Bills (2023)
  • Houston Texans (2023)
  • New Orleans Saints (2023)

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.

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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 Dantzler, adding newcomer CBs Byron Murphy, Mekhi Blackmon, and Joejuan Williams.

Last year, Dantzler scored a game-sealing fumble recovery — which was really just Dantzler yanking 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 Vikings Final Injury Report: Week 10
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We shall see what awaits Dantzler next. He’ll be free to sign with any NFL team for the postseason or will otherwise join the huge free-agent pool in March.

The Saints still employ former Vikings linebacker Ryan Connelly, an Eden Prairie native.

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).

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