It didn’t take long for former Minnesota Vikings starting cornerback Cameron Dantzler Sr. to land with a new team.
The Washington Commanders claimed Dantzler off of the NFL waiver wire on Monday, March 13. Football insider Ari Meirov reported the news via Twitter.
“The #Commanders claimed CB Cameron Dantzler off waivers from the Minnesota Vikings,” Meirov wrote.
Vikings Choice to Release Cameron Dantzler Was Unexpected
Minnesota waived Dantzler on Friday in a move that saved the team $2.74 million against the salary cap. The decision was something of a stunner for a few reasons:
Dantzler was a starter much of last season when he was available, meaning an already weak secondary lost one of its prime contributors.
Waiving Dantzler offered the Vikings only a modicum of savings, as his contract represented a little over 1% of the team’s 2023 salary cap.
Dantzler, a former third-round pick, is only 24 years old as he heads toward the start of just his fourth NFL campaign this fall.
The Vikings defensive back room is full of young players on rookie contracts, so if a new regime that didn’t draft Dantzler didn’t view him as possessing any viable future with the franchise, then cutting bait now makes enough sense.
However, Vikings insiders across the media landscape were regularly indicating that 32-year-old veteran cornerback Patrick Peterson looked like the odd man out upon the hiring of new defensive coordinator Brian Flores. Even last season on a one-year deal that was the cheapest of his Hall-of-Fame career, Peterson still earned nearly 3.5x what his fellow starting cornerback Dantzler cost against the cap.
Then a week ago, Darren Wolfson of KSTP reported that the Vikings front office and Flores were “absolutely” interested in bringing Peterson back to Minnesota. Four days later, Dantzler was off the team, joining wide receiver Adam Thielen who was cut the same day and linebacker Eric Kendricks who the Vikings released on March 6.
Dantzler’s Injury Issues, Fit With Vikings’ New Scheme Were Concerns
Dantzler struggled with injuries in 2022, missing a total of seven regular season contests as well as the team’s home playoff game against the New York Giants.
An ankle injury started the problems, which was followed by an illness before a second flare up of the initial ankle problem. A personal matter that was never specifically disclosed led to Dantzler’s absence from the sideline on Wild Card Weekend in January.
All told, Dantzler appeared in 35 regular season games during his Minnesota tenure, starting 26 of those contests. He amassed 17 defensed passes, six tackles for loss, three interceptions and three forced fumbles during his three seasons with the Vikings, per Pro Football Reference.
Legitimate questions also existed as to how well Dantzler might have fit in with Flores’ more aggressive style of defense, which would have require the cornerback to play more single-man coverage. In last year’s less aggressive scheme, Dantzler surrendered 41 catches to opposing wide receivers for a career-low reception rate of 77.4%.