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A little more steam for the Cameron Dantzler hype train

Could this really be his year?

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Minnesota Vikings v Los Angeles Chargers Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The battle for position on the cornerback depth chart is going to be one of the big ones to watch as Minnesota Vikings training camp progresses over the next few weeks. While we know Patrick Peterson (likely) has one starting spot locked down, there’s going to be some competition across from him in the form of third-year man Cameron Dantzler and rookie Andrew Booth Jr.

Largely due to his experience, the safe assumption might be that Dantzler has the inside track. He was a surprise addition to some watch lists during the offseason, leading us to ask whether or not he could make the leap in his third season. Now Pro Football Focus has gotten in on the act, naming Dantzler as the Vikings’ “Secret Superstar” to keep an eye on this season.

Perennially in Mike Zimmer’s doghouse, Dantzler has been the best-performing Vikings cornerback in recent seasons and, given his youth, the one that would seem to have the most potential going forward. Since entering the league, Dantzler has allowed an 82.5 passer rating into his coverage and surrendered 10.6 yards per catch, with each number improving in Year 2. He has been flagged for only one penalty and has eight pass breakups to go along with three picks across 771 coverage snaps.

Well, to be fair, the Zimmer’s doghouse thing only really happened last year. As a rookie in 2020, Dantzler had his moments but also dealt with a lot of injuries. If Dantzler can stay on the field, he can certainly be effective.

In an ideal world, both Booth and Dantzler find a way to emerge this season, not only providing solid cornerback play in 2022 but cushioning the blow should the Vikings want to move on from Patrick Peterson following this season. Peterson signed another one-year deal with the Vikings during the offseason, and though he’s still proven to be effective at his job, he’s not getting any younger. Being able to line up a Booth/Dantzler tandem at corner for the near future could, potentially, be a very good thing for this defense if they both continue their development.