Dakota Dozier — Starter or Not? Vikings.com Has Thoughts.
A week ago, Minnesota Vikings fans completely panicked when Dakota Dozier signed with the team again. To date, Minnesota have crafted a handful of new free agent signings – all defensive players. Stephen Weatherly (DE), Dalvin Tomlinson (3DT), Nick Vigil (LB), Patrick Peterson (CB), Mackensie Alexander (CB) and Xavier Woods (FS) are the fellows who are expected to bolster head coach Mike’s defense Zimmer in 2021.
The most urgent need on the list – before free will and now – is an overhaul of the offensive line. Year after year, the Vikings’ offense scratches the bottom of the NFL for pass protection while also ranking as average to decent in the race blocking rankings.
So when Dakota Dozier’s name was dropped as a new signer, the fan base was bombarded with frenzy. Dozier struggled a lot in 2020 with a total of 44.6 Focus on professional football rating – and a very low Pass Block Score of 36.7.
People viewed Dozier as the 2021 solution in the offensive guard without considering that the former Furman could be back on board as an LG2 product.
Guards like Forrest Lamp and Trai Turner are still available for purchase, so Dozier’s replacement looked like a No thanks to these players. That might, in fact, be true – but the full story won’t play out until after the 2021 NFL Draft.
Vikings team reporter Eric Smith, weighed on the subject of the beginning or of the session regarding Dozier. Obviously, he received a mass email about the transaction as he is the reporter employed by the team itself.
Smith has a very different perception of acquiring Dozier than the death row inmates. He claims Dozier is probably a reservist piece of the puzzle.
Upon Dozier’s return to the team for 2021, Smith noted:
“On the one hand, he knows the Viking offensive system and knows the Dennison Vikings. Remember the two were together in 2018 with the Jets before both landing in Minnesota for the past two seasons. Also keep in mind Dennison’s impact on the running game that helped the Vikings place fifth in rushing yards, sixth in rushing scores and fourth in rushing yards last season. Dozier was usable in 2019 in purple, starting four games (three at right guard) and playing 362 offensive shots in total. Maybe he’s better suited for the role than being a full-time starter like 2020 when he played Minnesota’s 1,082 offensive shots.
Nowhere in those words does Smith say “Dozier will probably start.” If his goal is to be reasonable and objective, it’s probably a safe bet to realize that Zimmer knows Dozier floundered as a starter. His presence on the 2021 roster is probably an in-depth signing.
“What guarantee is there that Dozier will be the starter or on the roster again in September? He is among the options in the Left Guard, a group that also includes newly acquired Mason Cole. But let’s say the Vikings draft a star left guard in the first round of the draft, or even find a steal there in the second or third round (depending on a potential trade)? If that happens, it’s likely that Dozier won’t boot up and be seen as a solid backup that can fill him up if needed, like in 2019, or he’s not on the roster if the Vikings want to rejuvenate and give someone away. as Kyle Hinton has a chance to fill a void as a reserve inside lineman. To close, Dozier was also signed cheaply. The Vikings didn’t break the bank to bring him back, and I consider that a low risk move. Just because he’s on the roster now doesn’t mean he’ll be part of the starting lineup.
In March and now in April, it is ridiculous to castigate the list with the a priori finality. The thing is not yet a finished product. The regular season doesn’t start for five months. A project will take place in three weeks. Dozens of free agents are unsigned.
The offensive line is not cemented at the moment, and the likelihood of Dozier starting in week 1 is miniature.