The Vikings Most Benchable Player from a National View

Aug 27, 2021; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (87) runs the ball as Minnesota Vikings defensive back Bashaud Breeland (21) makes the tackle during the first quarter at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The 2021 NFL season isn’t very old, but that doesn’t stop the national machine of public opinion from identifying underwhelming players.

For instance, Bleacher Report authored an article on Wednesday detailing one player per team who should visit the bench for a while. Players like Devin Singletary from the Buffalo Bills and Ben Roethlisberger on the Pittsburgh Steelers popped up as benchable dudes through three weeks.

Pertaining to the Minnesota Vikings, Alex Kay of Bleacher Report nominated Bashaud Breeland for a reservist role.

Breeland was signed by the Vikings in early June amid a free-agent signing flurry by Vikings general manager Rick Spielman this offseason Almost down the line, Spielman added new defensive personnel with the sole exception of Dede Westbrook who returns punts for the team.

The summer excitement about Breeland was real. He looked good. But he isn’t too productive inside the first 18% of the 2021 season for Minnesota. Opposing teams are laser-focusing on the ex-Kansas City Chief – and it’s working.


And ultimately, a porous secondary leads to stats like this:



On the prospect of benching Breeland – presumably in favor of the embattled Cameron Dantzler – BR’s Alex Kay noted:

Bashaud Breeland signed with the Minnesota Vikings this offseason to provide cornerback depth. He’s since been put into the starting lineup and has struggled to produce at a high level. The 29-year-old has earned a pitiful 30.4 PFF grade for his three dismal performances to start 2021. Breeland had his worst game yet in Week 3. He was torched by Seattle’s wideouts, allowing all eight of his targets to be caught for 87 yards and a touchdown while missing three tackles. It’s rather puzzling that Breeland is still starting while Cam Dantzler—a serviceable starter last season—is yet to see a defensive snap since the opener. Dantzler seems to be in Zimmer’s dog house, though. Regardless, it should be a priority to mend fences and get the second-year cornerback in the starting lineup before Breeland costs Minnesota a chance to make the playoffs.

While it’s true Breeland’s shortcomings – if they continue – could indeed dampen the Vikings postseason hopes, it is severely unlikely the Vikings coaching staff doesn’t recognize the fallout of his performance. They’re probably waiting for him to “settle in” or “turn the corner.” Head coach Mike Zimmer is a defensive mogul, so he will not allow one of the NFL’s worst cornerbacks to trot on the field for 17 consecutive weeks. Zimmer will either fix Breeland – or insert someone like Dantzler. In that vein, Bleacher Report is correct. Breeland, through three games, doesn’t deserve to start. But this is sports – sometimes productivity takes a bit to get cracking. Ask the 1-2 Chiefs about it.

Breeland’s passer-rating-against is dreadful – 133.9. When quarterbacks throw in his direction, those men instantly morph into Russell Wilson. That’s the reality at the moment. Last year, Breeland’s passer-rating-against was 78.3, which is marvelous.

So, Clemson alumnus will “figure it out” in the next few weeks. Or he’ll effectuate Alex Kay’s recommendation, tumbling to a backup role on the depth chart.

Zimmer is a cornerback obsessionist, meaning he won’t remain idle. Minnesota added depth to the cornerback room throughout the spring and summer for this very reason.

Something’s gotta change – Breeland’s 30.4 Pro Football Focus grade ranks worst in the NFL among 108 cornerbacks. Dead last.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).