While the recent releases of Eric Kendricks and Adam Thielen were tough because of how much the players have contributed to the team and community over the past decade, they were far from surprises. Everyone knew that there were some very tough decisions to make with veteran players.
But the most recent announcement on Friday afternoon wasn’t nearly as anticipated as the first two moves.
The Vikings have announced that they’re waiving CB Cameron Dantzler, who was a third round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft:
Dantzler’s three-year tenure in Minnesota can best be described as “up and down.” He played in eleven games his rookie season, starting ten. He had two interceptions, a fumble recovery, and 46 combined tackles. While there were plenty of rookie growing pains, Dantzler showed plenty of flashes of potential.
Many expected Dantzler to take a leap in the past two seasons, but it never really came. It may a bit telling that he seemed to fall out of favor with two different coaching staffs. Dantzler’s playing time under the final year of the Mike Zimmer regime was wildly inconsistent, and he started two fewer games his sophomore season. Injuries marred the second half of his 2022 season under Kevin O’Connell, but even after Dantzler returned, he didn’t see much of the field, playing only 41 defensive snaps after Week 9.
The release of Dantzler leaves the Vikings with only four cornerbacks under contract:
- Andrew Booth Jr.
- Akayleb Evans
- Tay Gowan
- Kalon Barnes
Kris Boyd, Patrick Peterson, Duke Shelley, and Chandon Sullivan remain free agents. For a team has invested so much draft capital into the position in recent years, it’s disheartening that they may have to go back to the well sooner rather than later.
Even after all the recent moves and the $2.7 million in cap space cleared by waiving Dantzler, the Vikings still remain nearly $6 million over the salary cap for 2023. There have already been some rumblings that the next big cut could be another iconic veteran: safety Harrison Smith.
Buckle up, folks. There is still plenty more to come in the next few days.