The infamous Vikings lineman can actually start for the Bears
September 8, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings offensive guard Dakota Dozier. Mandatory Credit: Ben Ludeman-USA TODAY Sports.
Wipe that smile off your face; they are apparently not joking.
When the Chicago Bears signed veteran offensive lineman Dakota Dozier in March, the decision was mind-blowing for several reasons.
- His recent performance with the Minnesota Vikings was mediocre.
- The Bears were really excited about the trade.
- Some fans wondered if the acquisition was a travesty.
Indeed, after putting Dozier on its roster, Chicago tweeted that it had discovered a “bulldozier”, a curious claim for a player who earned a 44.6 rating from Focus on professional football during his last full season of employment.
As the 2022 offseason plods on, it looks like Dozier could actually start for the Bears. The regular season doesn’t start for another 3.5 months, but according to credible roster projections, Dozier could be Chicago’s “guy” at right guard.
A starting job for Dozier would be confusing as his pass protection is highly suspect. In 2020, he scored 36.7 blocking passes from PFF, who scraped the bottom of the NFL. Additionally, the Bears are employing a young quarterback in Justin Fields, so working theory suggests the franchise would want to fortify the trenches appropriately for a developing passer. It’s unclear if Dozier would quickly change his skills to accommodate this.
Last week, NFL.com has planned each team’s starting lineups and — wouldn’t you know — Dozier was listed as the Bears’ starting RG.
And it does not stop there. ESPN is also planning a first role for Dozier. On ESPN’s website, where he illustrates depth charts for each team, Dozier is there in the Bears section with a R and one g next to his name.
Admittedly, the Vikings attacking trenches are not a group of glory, but at least the new ruling regime has made the choice not to retain a player with systematically putrid OL marks. The Bears could discover Dozier’s acumen this summer and choose not to pitch him as a result. Or maybe – a long shot – Dozier will suddenly be revitalized in Chicago, performing under a new coaching staff. It’s possible.
Realistically, however, Dozier’s projection is further proof that Chicago has built an odd array of offensive depth to support Fields. A top-down look at either of the depth charts above revives the underwhelming energy next to a quarterback who was downright not very good in his rookie year. And the Dozier engraving next to RG only adds to the sentiment.
If Dozier makes the 53-man roster, he’ll see his former team purple in Week 5 as the Bears travel to US Bank Stadium for an uncharacteristically early road game at the Vikings. The Bears haven’t played in September or October in Minnesota since 2006.
Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube channel, VikesNow. He host a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, airing every Wednesday with Raun Saw and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Guilty pleasures listed: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, “The Sopranos” and The Doors (the band).