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.’

“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.

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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.

RankPlayerDefensive snaps played% of defensive snaps
1Patrick Peterson58664.5
2Mackensie Alexander55561.1
3Cameron Dantzler46250.9
4Kris Boyd9210.1
5Harrison Hand10.1

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 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:

  • Buffalo Bills. The Bills lost Tre’Davious White for the year to a torn ACL. Dane Jackson has filled in nicely, but adding some veteran depth could be smart.
  • Baltimore Ravens. John Harbaugh admitted that he has gone for two to win twice in the last couple of weeks because of the team’s lacking depth at cornerback. The team was without four of its top five corners in Week 15 against the Packers, so Breeland could be a key depth addition for the Ravens.
  • Green Bay Packers. Speaking of the Packers, they could consider Breeland as well. He played with them in 2018 and logged 20 tackles, four pass breakups and two interceptions in just seven games. The team had success plucking Rasul Douglas off the Cardinals’ practice squad earlier this year, so perhaps they’ll bank on Breeland rebounding to add more depth.
  • Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs also used to employ Breeland and he was a starter on the outside during their two Super Bowl runs. The Chiefs have gotten great play out of the quartet of L’Jarius Sneed, Charvarius Ward, Mike Hughes and Rashad Fenton, but Breeland could still find a home in that position group.
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bucs have dealt — and continue to deal with — numerous injuries in their secondary. They signed Richard Sherman to provide corner depth but he is moving to safety. Perhaps Breeland could become a top backup at corner for Todd Bowles’ defense.
  • San Francisco 49ers. Like the Bucs, the 49ers have dealt with countless injuries at cornerback. Their top option, Jason Verrett, is out for the year while Emmanuel Moseley has also missed a lot of action. Breeland would provide depth to the unit and could eventually emerge as a starter.