Flash back to last season for the Minnesota Vikings, when they gave the Detroit Lions their first victory of the season. There were multiple errors in that game that led to that devastating loss, but none more devastating than the last play, when Cam Dantzler misplayed his coverage and allowed the Lions to score.
From the outside, it appeared this was the ultimate low for Dantzler after what had been an up-and-down sophomore campaign. Fast forward to this season, and everything is new for Cam Dantzler: his jersey number, his head coach, and the defensive scheme he’s playing in. And in case you missed it, he capped off Week Five with one of the most insane defensive plays you’ll see in the NFL.
Through five games this season, Cam Dantzler has found himself ranked as the 17th-best cornerback (min. 20% snaps) in the NFL, via Pro Football Focus. Dantzler is playing with confidence this season, but even though he’s got some areas he could improve in, he’s put together a solid start to the season, and the league may want to start paying a little closer attention to Cam Dantzler. Let’s take a look at some of Dantzler’s good work thus far this season.
Week 4 vs New Orleans
Cam Dantzler had a really solid game in London vs. the New Orleans Saints, where he forced three pass breakups and nearly came away with an INT in the game. Here was a fantastic play by Dantzler, as he essentially runs the route for the WR. He does a great job of keeping his eyes on the receiver and then jumping the route for what likely should’ve been an INT. Building up plays like this one will only continue to inspire confidence in Dantzler.
Cameron Dantzler real close to an INT on this one pic.twitter.com/h6fwiSiZbY— Shawn (@syedschemes) October 2, 2022
Week 2 vs Eagles
In this play, Dantzler does a really good job making an impact in the run game. He quickly identifies that the play is a run and flies to the ball like a missile, stopping Jalen Hurts in his tracks and preventing what could’ve been a long run. If Dantzler can continue to make plays like this, it’ll only help this Vikings team, especially against teams with mobile QBs.
Cam Dantzler continues to be a willing tackler in the run game. Here on Counter Bash, made a tackle in the flat the next play too pic.twitter.com/MRV0ITa54O— Shawn (@syedschemes) September 20, 2022
Week 5 vs Lions
We’ve all seen this play by now, and if you haven’t, you’ve been living under a rock. In a basic prevent defense, Dantzler allows an underneath pass to former Viking Imir Smith-Marsette but, on his pursuit to tackle him, gets stiff-armed to the ground. Dantzler doesn’t give up though, as he quickly hops back up and rips the ball out of Smith-Marsette’s hands, thus sealing the Vikings’ victory on Sunday. The resiliency to not give up even after your first failed attempt is a trait that’s hard to teach. Dantzler showed here that he has that trait.
You can clearly see with Dantzler what everyone has seen in him since he’s come into the NFL. The issue has been consistency. Dantzler has shown a lot of flashes, and that’s been no different this season. He’s continued to make some great plays, and hopefully he will continue to build on his promising start. The season is a long one, but more great plays from Dantzler will only help this Vikings team long-term. He’ll have a big test on tap on Sunday vs. Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle, but Cam Dantzler is on the rise, and it might be time for the league to start taking notice.