The Minnesota Vikings somehow pulled out a victory vs the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday and Cameron Dantzler was a big part of that. Cam forced a fumble, recovered that fumble and caught the first interception of 2020 among Vikings CB’s.
“The Needle” didn’t just make a difference in the old-school box score though, he came in as Pro Football Focus’ highest-rated defensive player of week 13 (93.0).
PFF's Week 13 Top Performers ? :— PFF (@PFF) December 8, 2020
Offense – Aaron Rodgers
Defense – Cameron Dantzler pic.twitter.com/vFbqoT4EMo
Cameron Dantzler’s 93.0 PFF grade is the highest by a #Vikings cornerback since 2016. He gave up just one catch on seven targets and forced two takeaways. Incredible game by the rookie from Mississippi State. pic.twitter.com/6JKMZOXo2N— Will Ragatz (@WillRagatz) December 7, 2020
I’ve given Rick Spielman a lot of grief for not drafting Antoine Winfield Jr in the last NFL Draft but all of his early 2020 picks look like hits, so far. That includes their young corners, both 3rd-round pick Cam Dantzler and 1st-round pick Jeff Gladney.
Set at CB for future?
They’re two very different CB’s. Cam is tall and lanky, resembling the prototypical outside cornerback, while Gladney is shorter, stockier and definitely likes to hit people more than “The Needle”.
Overall, Dantzler’s been the best-looking new CB since training camp and PFF agrees. Dantzler ranks as the NFL’s #28-graded cornerback (2nd among rookie CB’s) this season. Gladney ranks #94 (10th among rookie CB’s).
Mike Zimmer was asked about Dantzler and… well he’s Mike Zimmer. I think Cam is pretty good, even without the extra weight. But like Zim, I hope Cam continues to improve as he gets bigger and gains more experience.
Zimmer thinks he has his future set at CB so hopefully he’s right.
“Honestly, [Dantzler] continues to get better. Last week he made some plays on the ball, this week he had an interception and caused a fumble. I do think in time, with some more strength and a little bit more weight added on, he has a chance to be a good player because he does a lot of good things that people don’t notice when the ball isn’t going to him.”
“Gladney is playing well too. Hopefully we’ll be set at corner for a while.”Mike Zimmer (via SI)
Watching these young defensive backs grow up has been difficult at times. In the long run, the move to get younger in the secondary looks like it will payoff. If the Vikings can find the playoffs this season, then you can’t even call it a “rebuild”. Better production out of Gladney would really be the icing on the cake.
Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan