Zimmer’s Dislike For Dantzler Seems to Cloud His Judgement on Other Struggling Vikings CB’s
Mike Zimmer felt overwhelmed with the thought of fixing his secondary when the Minnesota Vikings entered last offseason. That makes sense, given the many struggles of his rookie cornerbacks during a non-playoff 2021 season; one in which Mike’s defense was a driving force in the disappointment.
Oh, that was before the front office traded Mike Hughes to Kansas City for next to nothing and before they released 2020 1st round draft pick, Jeff Gladney, after he was indicted on domestic abuse charges.
But Zim perked up when Rick Spielman swooped in to save the day by signing established veterans, Patrick Peterson, Bashaud Breeland and former Viking, Mackensie Alexander.
And the Minnesota Vikings 2021 season lived happily ever after, right? Haha, good one.
Through 3 weeks PP has been put in a blender that went viral twice. https://t.co/udhltNYIRy— Peter Bukowski (@Peter_Bukowski) September 26, 2021
The DK Metcalf TD allowed by Bashaud Breeland pic.twitter.com/erSlW58CXT— Sean Borman (@SeanBormanNFL) September 26, 2021
So, numbers can lie and are often used to paint a specific artist’s perception. But there are some numbers that just can’t be run away from. Bashaud Breeland, for example, is the NFL’s 100th-ranked cornerback by Pro Football Focus. PFF “only” ranks 100 cornerbacks. If you’re not catching on, that’s last place out of 100 other CB’s. That’s not a list you want to be at the bottom of. Yet, there’s Bashaud with a big Vikings logo right next to him.
Part of the reason Breeland’s numbers are so bad is because opposing teams continue to pick on him day in and day out. That must mean they’re afraid of Patrick Peterson, who man’s the other side of the field, right? Maybe.
But should they be? P2 has been thrown to just 13 times total, in the Minnesota Vikings first three games. Unfortunately, according to Pro Football Reference, opposing QB’s have completed 10 of those passes, one of them for a touchdown. That 77% completion allowed is by-far the worst of his career.
With those numbers, quarterbacks won’t be avoiding Peterson for much longer, even if they’re busy taking advantage of Breeland.
Bashaud Breeland and Patrick Peterson this season:— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) September 29, 2021
157.2 and 157.9 passer ratings allowed pic.twitter.com/K1sqI1YtBz
Zimmer doesn’t care
No matter how bad Bashaud Breeland looks to the rest of the world or how sick his grades and numbers make is feel, Mike Zimmer doesn’t seem to care. The only dude he continues to go after during press conferences is the only cornerback who’s exceeded any sort of expectations since joining the Vikings.
Cam Dantzler was drafted by Rick Spielman in the 3rd round (#89 OVR) of the 2020 NFL Draft and he stuck out to media and those inside the organization as soon as he hit the field. He and fellow draftee, Justin Jefferson, were the stars of Training Camp later that year.
Dantzler went on to start 10 games as a rookie for the 2020 Minnesota Vikings’ and wasn’t always great. Mistakes should be expected when a CB is a rookie playing in Mike Zimmer’s system.
But since the first time Zimmer stepped to the microphone at the start of 2021 training camp, he’s been taking not-so-subtle shots at Cam about his mental and physical toughness or his supposed unwillingness to play special teams.
Grow up, kid.
But social media posts like this, after a massive team win, is why Dantzler is a big part of the problem and why more people aren’t jumping on Zimmer.
The Vikings got their first win but it doesn’t seem everyone is happy. Here’s what Cam Dantzler tweeted after another game with few snaps. pic.twitter.com/vgJKAy4cAI— Chad Graff (@ChadGraff) September 26, 2021
Timing is everything and taking to social media at that moment was a terrible idea. It got deleted after about 20 minutes but screenshots live forever. But if you’re still reading this blog, you probably understand why Dantzler is upset.
Cam hasn’t even gotten enough reps to register a ranking at PFF but his overall grade of 70.5 is pretty damn good and way higher than either of the current Minnesota Vikings starters. We aren’t sure how he’d do with more playing time but at the end of the day, can he be any worse than Bashaud Breeland, the worst CB in the league? Probably not.
Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan