What happened to Bashaud Breeland? Why Vikings suddenly cut starting CB amid playoff push

The Vikings are fighting for one of the Wild Card spots in the NFC playoff race. However, if they are going to qualify for the postseason in 2021, they will have to do it without one of their top cornerbacks.

Bashaud Breeland is no longer a member of the Vikings. The team waived him on Saturday afternoon in a surprising move that few across the NFL expected.

Breeland was one of the Vikings’ starting corners before his release. He started all 13 games in his first season with Minnesota and had played in 675 of the team’s defensive snaps, good for 74.3 percent of their season total. That was more than any other cornerback on the Minnesota roster.

But now, Breeland is gone, and the Vikings are going to have to rely on their depth to step up and replace him. That will begin during the Vikings’ “Monday Night Football” game against the Bears.

Why did the Vikings release Breeland? Here’s what to know about Minnesota’s move and how they might look to replace him.

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Why did the Vikings cut Bashaud Breeland?

The Vikings waived Bashaud Breeland after a couple of incidents that occurred during the Vikings’ practice on Saturday. NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported that one was a “verbal altercation” with coaches while the other involved several of his teammates.

Breeland, for one, thinks the whole situation is being “blown out of proportion,” per USA TODAY Sports’ Josina Anderson. He, for one, didn’t think his issue with the coaching staff should have carried over onto the field.

“I feel like what happened in the meeting room with the coach was not serious enough to be an issue on the practice field,” Breeland said.

Breeland also explained the altercation on the field “escalated out of nowhere” after one of his teammates became upset with how he greeted him. Breeland claimed that he “wasn’t trying to be a distraction” and didn’t engage with his teammate during the squabble.

“The whole time I had my hands in my hoodie,” he said. “You can see my demeanor was like, ‘I’m not on that, but if you want to be on that we can be on that.’

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“That’s when the general manager [Rick Spielman] stepped in on the field. I feel like Zimmer came over there, saw confusion and just kicked me out. I feel like Zimmer was already feeling some kind of way because I wasn’t practicing. I said, ‘If I’m not being cut or released I shouldn’t have to leave practice.’”

The Vikings ultimately decided to release Breeland following that incident, ending his Vikings tenure after just 13 games.

Vikings CB depth chart

The Vikings still have solid, young depth at the cornerback spot in addition to veteran Patrick Peterson and experienced slot-man Mackensie Alexander. In all likelihood, Cameron Dantzler will be called upon to play a bigger role on the outside. He had been serving as a top backup before Breeland’s release.

Here’s a look at the Vikings’ cornerback depth chart with Breeland gone.

This position group looks a lot different than it did in August, when Breeland was still around and 2020 first-round pick Jeff Gladney was projected to be one of the starters. Gladney was released on Aug. 3 after he was indicted on domestic violence charges.

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Bashaud Breeland contract

Breeland, 29, had signed a one-year contract worth up to $3 million with the Vikings during the 2021 NFL offseason, per OverTheCap.com. His contract included $2.075 million in guaranteed money and a per-game roster bonus that would amount to $925,000 total if he played all 17 games with the Vikings.

So, Breeland is on the hook for very little guaranteed money over the last three weeks of the 2021 NFL regular season and playoffs. As such, he could be an attractive target on the waiver wire for playoff teams.

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Which teams could claim Bashaud Breeland?

Breeland certainly hasn’t had a great season for the Vikings and ranks 115th out of 117 qualified cornerbacks in PFF’s position grades this season. So, some may assume that he won’t draw interest as a waiver wire target.

However, Breeland has started 101 of 107 games during his career and was a solid contributor for the Chiefs as a starter during their back-to-back Super Bowl runs. So, he should draw interest as a waiver wire target from a team that believes they fix what ails him.

Here’s a look at a handful of teams that could put in claims for the veteran defensive back:

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