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Cameron Dantzler 'Confident' as Role Increases for Vikings-Cowboys

EAGAN, Minn. – You're up, Cameron Dantzler.

The second-year corner will be heavily relied on for at least the next three games, as the Vikings move forward after placing Patrick Peterson on Injured Reserve following the win at Carolina.

Dantzler spoke with Twin Cities media members Monday and clearly is embracing the opportunity whole-heartedly.

"I'm very confident. I always had to be prepared when my name would be called, so I'm very excited for the moment to be back out there with the guys, making plays and helping this team win," he said.

A third-round pick by the Vikings in 2020, Dantzler started 10 of 11 games played as a rookie. He totaled 46 tackles, two interceptions, three tackles for loss, a forced fumble and fumble recovery, and four passes defensed.

Dantzler so far this season has appeared in four games with no starts. He's recorded eight tackles and two passes defensed on defense, in addition to contributing on special teams.

The Vikings secondary does look quite a bit different this season, as Peterson started alongside free agent addition Bashaud Breeland – and Mackensie Alexander in the slot – through Minnesota's first six games.

But Dantzler has shown coaches some flashes, which certainly will be helpful in Peterson's absence.

​​"I think he's been a little bit more focused on what he's trying to do out there. He's had opportunities to make some plays," Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said.

Peterson may be sidelined, but Dantzler said he's learned a lot from the 31-year-old and will continue to benefit from his expertise on the sideline or in the meeting room.

"He's a veteran, been in the league, Pro Bowler; he's a future Hall of Famer; he's great to have in your corner," Dantzler said. "He teaches us young guys a lot about the ins and outs and the game. Being under his wing, I just feel very confident and just how he's aware when I go out there Sunday and perform for the team."

Dantzler and the rest of the Vikings defensive backs certainly have a tall task ahead of them in Cowboys receivers Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb.

Through the Cowboys first six games, Cooper and Lamb have combined for 870 receiving yards and eight touchdowns on 63 catches.

Look back at photos over the course of time featuring games between the Vikings and the Cowboys.

Dantzler is especially familiar with Lamb, a fellow 2020 draft class member who scored a touchdown against the Vikings in the Dallas-Minnesota game last season.

"CeeDee, he's a great receiver," Dantzler said. "Last year he played mostly in the slot so I didn't really guard him as much last year. But it looks like they've moved him outside this year, so I have to be ready like the ball [is always coming] to your side."

You can bet he'll be spending some time studying film of the two receivers this week.

"Their weaknesses, take advantage of that, and their strengths, practice that each and every day to help you critique their game to when you play those guys on Sunday," Dantzler explained. "I feel like as a secondary we're going to come together throughout the week and just study film on those guys and see what can we do to expose their weaknesses."

He'll be leaning on Peterson, too, whom Dantzler said he's already received some advice from.

"He basically just told me to do what I do – do what I do best. 'Go out there and be confident, play with swagger. Just be Cam, go out there and play ball' That's basically what he tells me," Dantzler later added of Peterson. "He's that guy who's going to be 100, keep it real with you, and be straightforward. He's just like, 'It's your time. (I'll) be out a few weeks. Just go out there and make plays.' "