4 Vikings players facing an uphill battle at 2021 training camp

(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) Chad Beebe
(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) Chad Beebe /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports) Dakota Dozier /

Dakota Dozier – OG

It was surprising to see Dakota Dozier remain on the Vikings roster this offseason. His level of production was not up to the required standard in 2020 and if substantial improvements aren’t made, the interior offensive lineman can kiss his chances of a starting position goodbye.

Dozier was a weak link on Minnesota’s protection last season. That is the long and short of it.

The Vikings can ill-afford similar errors in production if they want to make the playoff this time around. It’s going to be a fascinating battle for position at training camp at guard, which has the promising Ezra Cleveland and intriguing rookie Wyatt Davis out of Ohio State also vying for solid reps despite their inexperience.

Minnesota already knows what it has in Dozier, who gave up six sacks and conceded nine penalties from 1,083 snaps in 2020 on his way to a dismal 44.6 grade from Pro Football Focus.

Realistically speaking, it would take a lot from Dozier to convince his doubters he is a capable performer at this stage. We all saw enough last season to suggest otherwise.

There is more upside in the Vikings sticking Cleveland and Davis together and seeing how they get on. If things don’t work out, then Dozier can come in to plug the gap, but it’s a big ask awaiting the veteran at camp.