Vikings CB Cam Dantzler on Mike Zimmer: ‘Nobody knows the inside story’

Eliminating the toxicity from the culture of the Minnesota Vikings was presumably at the top of first-year head coach Kevin O’Connell’s to-do list.

Perhaps one of the players most affected by former head coach Mike Zimmer’s antics was cornerback Cameron Dantzler, who recently admitted to Tyler Dunne of, that he had a bit of an identity crisis after Zimmer benched him in favor of Bashaud Breeland last year.

“They brought Breeland in and I feel like they just threw me to the side,” Dantzler said. “I was like, ‘Damn. Am I good enough?’ I was questioning myself. … I had that confidence and swagger into Year 2. And then when I got hurt, it was, ‘OK, we don’t need him anymore. Let’s throw him to the side.’ I felt abandoned.

“Everybody tried to make it seem like I was out-battled. Breeland is a great player. But I don’t feel I was out-battled. My spot was given away before it was even fought for. It was like, ‘OK. He’s going to be the starter. He’s going to be our guy.’ They just threw me to the side.”

After starting 10 games as a rookie two years ago, Dantzler was limited to seven starts last season. 

Back in a starter’s role, Dantzler is having a solid season this year with 34 tackles, four passes defensed, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery in six games, and he’s Minnesota’s second-best defense back in coverage this season, according to Pro Football Focus.

“Nobody knows the inside story; there was more to it with me and coach last year,” Dantzler said. “Outside looking in, you really don’t know as much. There was a lot going on last year. It was a roller-coaster for me.

“…[This year] I got my swagger back. They have faith in me with what I can do, and they make me play freely and be me.”

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