Minnesota Vikings rookie cornerback Cameron Dantzler is expected to make the trip back to the Twin Cities with the rest of his team Sunday evening, according to coach Mike Zimmer, after he was transported to Green Bay-area hospital to be evaluated for a concussion upon suffering a neck injury in the first quarter of Minnesota's 28-22 victory over the Packers.
The third-round NFL draft pick was injured while attempting to tackle Packers running back A.J. Dillon on the final play of the first quarter. Dillon took a handoff up the left side of the field before Dantzler, linebacker Troy Dye and safety Anthony Harris collectively brought him down, with Harris' right hip/upper thigh appearing to collide with Dantzler's head and neck area.
Dantzler lay motionless for several minutes as athletic trainers helped strap his body to a backboard before taking him off the field. The cornerback was moving his fingers, according to the Fox broadcast, but did not show many signs of movement upon being carted off the field.
"As he was leaving the field, he started wiggling a little bit," linebacker Eric Kendricks said. "He was looking at us and talking to us a little bit. It was a good sign from there. You never want to see that."
The Vikings later said Dantzler underwent an X-ray at Lambeau Field and has full movement of his body.
Second-year cornerback Kris Boyd stepped in for Dantzler on the outside, but Boyd later sustained what appeared to be a noncontact right knee injury late in the fourth quarter. The Vikings also lost Mark Fields in the third quarter when the cornerback attempted to tackle Packers wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown. At one point, the Vikings were down to two healthy corners on the active roster, Jeff Gladney and Harrison Hand.
"[W]ith the corner situation that we've had, the things we've had to do it just makes it tougher and tougher," Zimmer said. "We bring a guy in off the street and he's got to go play in the game. But we had a lot of rookies out there today on defense. They played very hard. They didn't always play well, but they played hard and they made some mistakes, and hopefully we can correct those tomorrow."
Dantzler was activated off the reserve/COVID-19 list Saturday after being designated as a higher-risk contact Wednesday. He did not practice during the week.
The Vikings, already thin at cornerback coming off their Week 7 bye, entered Sunday's game with five available players at the position: Dantzler, Jeff Gladney and Harrison Hand -- all rookies -- along with Boyd and Mark Fields II. The team is currently without its top two cornerbacks. Mike Hughes was placed on injured reserve Friday, and Holton Hill was ruled out with a foot injury.