Van Pelt, who formerly was the quarterbacks coach of the Green Bay Packers, saw plenty of positives after reviewing Dalton's play over the last two seasons.
"I got a chance to come in and watch all the tape from the last two years," Van Pelt told the Bengals' website. "I wasn't quite as in tune with Andy as I was when he came out in the draft. Obviously I evaluated him then and had a high opinion of him then. See the same exact things on tape. I think he's a very, very good quarterback and a playoff caliber quarterback. He does a lot of really, really good things.
"The more tape I watched, the more excited I got. I think this guy has potential to be an elite player in the league. It's our job to challenge him to get to that next level."
Dalton threw for 3,320 yards with 25 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 16 games this past season. The 30-year-old has three years remaining on a contract extension he signed in 2014, one season after recording career highs in yards passing (4,293) and touchdown passes (33).
Van Pelt had the respect of Aaron Rodgers, who was irked earlier this month that the Packers opted to dismiss the former without consulting him.
The 47-year-old Van Pelt has spent the past six seasons in Green Bay, including the last four as quarterbacks coach. He also was with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as quarterbacks coach (2010-11) and spent four seasons on the offensive coaching staff of the Buffalo Bills (2006-09).