Skip to main content

Vikings Cornerback Cameron Dantzler Has Added More Weight to his Frame

Dantzler isn't quite as skinny as he was when the Vikings drafted him in 2020.

One of the primary concerns with Vikings cornerback Cameron Dantzler when he was an NFL Draft prospect from Mississippi State in 2020 was his size — specifically, the lack of bulk on his frame. Dantzler, who was drafted in the third round, was just over 180 pounds as a rookie. His long, skinny build earned him the nickname 'The Needle' when he was in high school.  

Now, as he enters his third season, Dantzler is up to 191 pounds and might still be adding productive weight, he told the Pioneer Press's Chris Tomasson.

"I've gained weight and I’m stronger, and I’m faster," he said. "I checked all the boxes I needed to check this offseason to get better. I'm getting my body right. I've got a nutritionist. I'm lifting weights. But that name 'The Needle' has stuck with me. It's not going anywhere."

Dantzler has been up and down through two NFL seasons. He showed flashes of excellence as a rookie, starting 10 games and recording two interceptions, three tackles for loss, and a forced fumble. He also gave up some big plays, being charged with eight missed tackles and four touchdowns allowed in 2020, per Pro Football Focus.

Last season, Dantzler was unable to beat out veteran Bashaud Breeland for a starting job in training camp. Still, he ended up starting seven games, playing 685 snaps (84 more than his 2020 total), and improving most of his numbers. Dantzler finished last year with a solid 73.9 PFF grade, including an elite 90.9 grade as a run defender. He gave up fewer catches, yards, and touchdowns on a similar number of targets, doubled his total pass breakups, and cut his missed tackles in half.

But like with his rookie year, it wasn't perfect. Dantzler started off a little bit slow and famously gave up the game-winning touchdown against the winless Lions in Week 13.

Scroll to Continue

Read More

“It was kind of kind of frustrating, but at the end of the day, it’s a business decision,” Dantzler told Tomasson about the Vikings playing Breeland over him for much of the season. "The coaches did what they thought was best."

"Last year was kind of a rollercoaster season, but I’ve gained my confidence back,” he said. "New staff. Fresh start. So I’m just ready to show what I can do this year."

Now with more muscle on his frame, Dantzler will once again have to compete for a starting spot. This time, his competitor will be second-round rookie Andrew Booth Jr., who is still recovering from offseason surgery but has a ton of potential if he can stay healthy. Veteran Patrick Peterson, the possible future Hall of Famer who the Vikings brought back on another one-year deal this year, has one of the starting spots on the outside.

“When we drafted him, I was excited,” Dantzler told Tomasson. "I was glad to add some firepower in the secondary. Booth, he’s a great player, and I’m going to love competing with him. Whoever starts, it’s whatever helps the team win at the end of the day."

Dantzler also enters this season with a new number on his jersey. After wearing No. 27 for his first two seasons in Minnesota, he switched to his college number 3 this year, which was previously held by punter Jordan Berry.

Thanks for reading. Make sure to bookmark this site and check back daily for the latest Vikings news and analysis all offseason long. Also, follow me on Twitter and feel free to ask me any questions on there.