View images of new Vikings OL Dakota Dozier from his days with the New York Jets.
When new Vikings guard Dakota Dozier first stepped foot inside Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center, he knew he would see at least one familiar face.
Dozier, who signed with Minnesota as a free agent on Thursday, enjoyed the opportunity to reconnect with Vikings run game coordinator/offensive line coach Rick Dennison, who held the same position with the Jets in 2018.
Dozier spent his first five seasons with the Jets and said he “had a great time” with Dennison last season.
“It was good to get to know him as a man and as a coach and just the way he carried himself and coached his players,” Dozier told Twin Cities media members via conference call Friday afternoon. “I really enjoyed that method where he coaches guys on the field, corrects them in the meeting rooms — I just really had a good vibe from it.
“I was definitely excited to hear he got a new job and then even more excited when I heard there was some interest from the Vikings,” Dozier added. “It’s pretty cool to be able to get hooked back up with him, and I’m excited to be with him and see what we can do with it.”
While Dozier said that his former coach wasn’t the “primary” reason he opted to exchange Green for Purple, he’s grateful to have that familiarity when joining a new team.
The 27-year-old spoke highly of his visit to Minnesota this week.
“I’m super excited to be a part of the Vikings organization,” Dozier said. “I had a fantastic visit the other day and loved getting to meet [Vikings Head Coach] Zimmer and [General Manager Rick Spielman] and the people in the building. The visit was great, and I thought the facility was wonderful. I’m geared up to get there … and get to work.”
Dozier’s main goal is to help the team in whatever ways he can and at whatever position. He acknowledged that he’s most comfortable at guard after sliding inside from tackle after college.
“During my time with the Jets, I played left tackle, left guard, center and right guard, and a little bit of fullback and tight end,” Dozier said. “Whatever the team asks me to do, I’m going to do it. But I definitely feel most comfortable at guard.”
When asked about taking reps at fullback, Dozier laughed and said it was “definitely a little bit different” but a role he enjoyed.
“I got the start against the Titans [in Week 12], and the coaches thought I played well and said, ‘Well, we want to get you on the field the rest of the year,’ ” Dozier explained. “[Offensive Coordinator Jeremy Bates] and Dennison reached out to me and said, ‘Hey, we want you to try to do this.’
“I got to work that week and started learning the different formations I needed to know, and assignments,” Dozier continued. “I felt comfortable with it, so we ran with it. It was definitely a little bit different assignment, but I enjoyed helping the team as best as I could.”
Dozier, who currently is living in Raleigh, North Carolina, with his wife and son, will be back in Minnesota in less than two weeks to start offseason workouts.
He is looking forward to hitting the field this spring with new teammates and working again with Dennison, whom he said does an excellent job at bringing a group together.
“I think you have to be definitely accountable and ready to support your teammates and [fellow] O-linemen,” Dozier said of Dennison’s scheme. “You have five guys up there, and it’s really important to all be on the same page, and he does such a good job of communicating to us how to communicate with each other, that it really makes it a smooth transition from individual team drills and getting ready to go into games.”