Injury Analysis: Buffalo Bills CB Cameron Dantzler

Injury Analysis: Buffalo Bills CB Cameron Dantzler

Never satisfied, the Buffalo Bills signed former Vikings CB Cameron Dantzler to a one-year contract Wednesday. Coming to Buffalo with 26 starts over three seasons, Dantzler is an intriguing player to add in the secondary. He does come with multiple injury issues dating back to his time in Minnesota, but with the right resources to focus on his health, he could be a great addition.

Below is Cameron Dantzler’s publicly reported injury history and concerns. 

Injury History

2020 Minnesota Vikings

Ribs, Week 1, missed 2 games.

In his NFL debut, Dantzler suffered a rib injury that forced him out of the next two games. It’s not clear if these were cracked ribs or cartilage, but painful enough to sit out for a while. 

COVID, Week 7, missed 0 games.

Due to being considered a close contact to a positive COVID case, Dantzler was placed on COVID/Reserve list for three days before testing negative to play in Week 8.

Concussion/neck injury, Week 8, missed 2 games.

Dantzler left the field on a stretcher following a hit from friendly fire trying to tackle Packers RB AJ Dillon in the first quarter. Initially described as a neck injury, precautions were taken using the Canadian C-Spine rules to ensure his health. 

Later diagnosed with a concussion, he was able to return in Week 11 with a questionable designation prior to passing the concussion protocol. 

Hamstring, side not specified, Week 16, missed 1 game.

Dantzler missed the final regular season game with a hamstring strain against the New Orleans Saints. 

2021 Vikings

Grade 2 Quadriceps strain, side not specified, off-season.

In a detailed interview over at GoLongTD, Dantzler described how he suffered a Grade 2 quadriceps strain just prior to June OTA’s and minicamp. He attempted to practice through it before re-injuring the muscle again which prompted the Vikings to bring in Braushad Breeland to shore up the secondary. 

Ankle, side not specified, Week 8, missed 0 games.

Calf, side not specified, Week 18, missed 1 game.

Dantzler suffered a calf injury on the Wednesday prior to the regular season finale, ruled out in the final injury report. 

2022 Vikings

Neck, Week 8, missed 0 games.

Left high-ankle sprain, Week 9, went to IR, missed 4 games.

Dantzler suffered a left high-ankle sprain in the contest against the Washington Commanders. The ankle injury was serious enough that the team placed him on injured reserve to clear up a roster spot and allow him time to heal. 

Illness, Week 15, missed 1 game.

Ankle, side not specified, Week 16, missed 1 game.

Dantzler missed the Week 16 contest after tweaking his ankle in practice that Wednesday. It’s likely that he re-injured his high-ankle sprain, forcing him out of the contest. 

Ankle/personal matter, Week 17, missed 2 games.

Dantzler continued to struggle through his ankle injury that forced him out of the Week 18 matchup against the Chicago Bears. He then missed the Wild Card game against the New York Giants with the ankle injury along with a personal matter described as a family issue. He was unable to practice all week as a result. 

2023 Washington Commanders

Off-season member, no publicly reported injuries.

Buffalo Bills Injury Outlook

Cameron Dantzler has suffered his fair share of injuries dating back to his rookie year. He did miss three games in college his last year, but details were not specific other than upper and lower body. 

He has missed 14 games including playoffs due to a variety of injuries, most notably ankle injuries last year. He has had his fair share of soft tissue injuries with quadriceps, calf, and hamstring injuries.

If you read the GoLongTD article, Dantzler described how former head coach Mike Zimmer used to shut out injured players, cutting off communication. Injury management was borderline reckless under the prior medical staff with the team later letting go head ATC Eric Sugarman. They later brought in Tyler Williams from the Rams which made a notable improvement for the 2022 season.

It’s possible that a lot of these injury issues that Dantzler was forced to work through were the result of a previous regime and not entirely his fault.

Looking at concerns, the soft tissue ones are few and far between. But they have been consistent enough that they could torpedo his chances to make the roster if he suffers another injury in training camp. His neck injuries may be a one-off complaint as well, but it’s unknown if there are any chronic issues. 

There is little concern about the high-ankle sprain, ribs, or even concussion heading into this season with the Bills. Dantzler is not the most durable player, but if he can take care of his body in Buffalo, then he may be able to find a stronger free agency market next off-season. 

The Bills were smart to bring Dantzler in as he is a proven commodity over Kyler McMichael who was released as part of the transaction. If Dantzler can stay healthy, he could be a nice surprise should he make the active roster. But I am not expecting much from him until he shows he can produce and stay healthy in 2023.