Vikings DB Cameron Dantzler 'doing well' after neck injury

Cameron Dantzler #27 of the Minnesota Vikings is taken off the field in a stretcher after a neck injury and evaluated for a concussion during the second quarter against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on November 01, 2020 in Green Bay, Wiscons ((Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images))

The Minnesota Vikings aren’t interested in losing games the rest of the season in the hopes of getting a high pick for the 2021 NFL Draft.

That much is clear after they went to Lambeau Field and beat their NFC North Division rivals, the Green Bay Packers, with the help of 226 total yards and four touchdowns from Dalvin Cook. He joins Chuck Foreman and Ahmad Rashad as Vikings to score four touchdowns in a game.

Cook is now second in the NFL with 652 rushing yards, and leads the league with 10 rushing touchdowns. He’s Minnesota’s best player when he’s healthy.

“I hope he gets a lot more of those games. Dalvin is a great player, obviously both the other two guys, Chuck Foreman and Ahmad Rashad were outstanding players, and so is Dalvin. We’re going to have to ride this guy, he’s a good player,” coach Mike Zimmer said Monday.

Sunday’s win at Lambeau Field might be one of the more impressive ones for Zimmer with the Vikings. His healthy defensive backs, with the game on the line in the fourth quarter, were Jeff Gladney and Harrison Hand.

Cameron Dantzler had to be taken off the field in a stretcher in the first quarter. He didn’t play the rest of the game with a neck injury, and was taken to a hospital to be evaluated for a concussion. Dantzler traveled back with the team Sunday night, and Zimmer said Monday he’s “doing well” and has a chance to play Sunday against the Detroit Lions.

Dantzler dealt with a rib injury earlier this season, and was on the reserve/COVID-19 list last Wednesday. After getting hit with friendly fire on a tackling attempt Sunday and lying motionless on the ground, teammates took a knee in prayer for him on the field and wished him well as he was taken off.

“Cam is a great kid. He’s had a bunch of things happen this year, but he’s a great kid. We were all concerned about him, but it looks like he’s going to be just fine,” Zimmer said.

Zimmer joked after the win that he needed “Just for Men” to hide some of his gray hair with the defense. Due to injuries, the Vikings had seven rookies on the field at one point. One of them, D.J. Wonnum, sealed the win for Minnesota with a sack and forced fumble on Aaron Rodgers.

Ifeadi Odenigbo and Jalyn Holmes flushed Rodgers to his side, and he chased down Rodgers for the game-winning defensive play. He said his phone had lit up after the game with congratulatory messages for a big play on a future hall of famer. It was Wonnum’s second career sack.

“It was big for our team. I was just thinking once I seen him, get the ball out. Get to him and get the ball out. It ended up happening and we got the big win,” Wonnum said.

Cook had 30 carries for 163 yards and three touchdowns, but his last score of the game might have been the most important. It gave the Vikings breathing room in the second half against Rodgers and the Packers.

Cook got a screen pass from Kirk Cousins, and with the help of downfield blocking, took it 50 yards for a touchdown and a 28-14 lead. Cook said after the game it’s a play they worked on during the week in practice.

“He’s got a confidence about him, and we did too, that as long as the ball is in his hands, he’s going to make something happen. We just have to give him that little bit of daylight that he needs. That’s exactly what happened on that play,” center Garrett Bradbury said.

This time last week, the Vikings were 1-5 with slim hopes of a postseason and the trade deadline a week away. Veterans could be dealt, and a youth movement and rebuild were ahead.

Now they’re 2-5 with a division win, and four of their next five games are at U.S. Bank Stadium. The 2018 Indianapolis Colts and the 2017 Kansas City Chiefs are the most recent teams to make the playoffs after a 1-5 start. Zimmer is focused on the Lions.

“I’m confident if we play like we did yesterday, with effort and execution, that we can win this game. I’ll worry about the next games after that,” Zimmer said.