DECEMBER 10: To no surprise, Dantzler has indeed been activated, per a team announcement. That comes as welcomed news for the Vikings, given the injuries suffered at the position by rookies Akayleb Evans and Andrew Booth during his absence. Dantzler should immediately return to a starting role.
In a corresponding move, Minnesota has placed Jonathan Bullard on IR. The veteran d-lineman suffered a biceps injury last Sunday against the Jets, a game which marked the first in five weeks which he did not start. There was initial optimism that his injury would not be serious, but further testing has led to what will be at least a four-week absence.
DECEMBER 7: Kevin O’Connell expressed hope Cameron Dantzler would be ready to return from IR when first eligible. The Vikings took a step toward that happening Wednesday, designating the starting cornerback for return.
Minnesota designated both Dantzler and running back Ty Chandler for return. Each player has 21 days to be activated or miss the rest of the season. While IR math might come into play regarding Chandler, the Vikings are expecting Dantzler to be activated immediately.
A 2020 third-round pick, Dantzler has been the team’s regular boundary starter opposite Patrick Peterson this season. The Mike Zimmer-era draftee has started all eight games he has played during his third NFL slate. A part-time starter last year, Dantzler was a reliable cog for DC Ed Donatell before going down with a high ankle sprain.
Pro Football Focus rates Dantzler just outside the top 40 at corner this season. The Mississippi State alum held off second-round rookie Andrew Booth for the starting role opposite Peterson; Booth did not see much time before undergoing knee surgery last week. The Clemson product being out for the season as a result of the operation places more importance on Dantzler’s status, but the Vikings appear close to redeploying their Peterson-Dantzler duo. Dantzler has 25 starts on his resume.
Minnesota’s Ben Ellefson activation last week leaves five such moves remaining. Dantzler will undoubtedly cut into this total, though it would not surprise to see the Vikings slow-play it with Chandler to determine how their injury situation unfolds. The Vikes placed the rookie fifth-rounder on IR back in October due to a broken thumb. Playing behind Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison, Chandler saw action in only two games before hitting IR and has not played an offensive snap as a pro yet.