The Minnesota Vikings aren’t done with their offseason overhaul just yet.
Minnesota, which has three roster spots available and a bounty of cap space available after June 1, welcomed one of the most notable free agents this offseason to its facilities: former Kansas City Chiefs starting cornerback Bashaud Breeland.
“Breeland, though, spent Thursday in Minneapolis, according to multiple league sources. He visited with the Minnesota Vikings at their training facility to get an idea of what his role could be for a defense led by coach Mike Zimmer,” The Athletic’s Nate Taylor reported.
Breeland, 29, played in 27 games (26 starts) over the past two seasons, recording 17 pass breakups, four interceptions, three fumble recoveries and a touchdown. He notched a crucial interception in the first half of the Chiefs’ Super Bowl win over the San Francisco 49ers in 2019.
Underrated, Breeland Seeks a Payday
Breeland, who has been largely underrated throughout his career, earned approximately $1.5 million last season in Kansas City. He remains a free agent, hopeful of reaching a “sizable payday,” Taylor said.
That payday has been tough to come by in the 2021 offseason, with the league salary cap taking an 8% hit down to $182.5 million — the first time the cap has decreased after annual growth since 2011.
A fourth-round pick by the Washington Football Team in 2014, Breeland was an instant starter. He missed out on a lucrative three-year, $24 million second contract with the Carolina Panthers after failing a physical due to an infection from a deep cut on the back of his foot he sustained in the Dominican Republic, Taylor reported. Breeland joined the Green Bay Packers for a season before Kansas City signed him for a two-year, $2 million contract.
Since 2017, Breeland has allowed the second-lowest completion percentage (50.7%) among any cornerback in the league, trailing only William Jackson who just signed a three-year, $42 million contract with the Washington Football Team.
— Bashaud Breeland (@Bree2Land6) May 21, 2021
Overperforming on his contract with the Chiefs, Breeland has advocated for his payday on social media, which has been met with mixed responses. Analysts acknowledge he’s outplayed his contract and is deserving of a more competitive salary with some of the top corners in the league. Meanwhile, fans have responded with a litany of complaints about him not re-signing yet and beginning to entertain offers elsewhere after helping Kansas City reach the past two Super Bowls.
“I got to be around a winning culture, a good coaching staff, as well as players, and I learned a lot,” Breeland said of the Chiefs in February, per Taylor. “I learned through myself I can overcome anything if I just put my mind into it and stay fresh with the right people around me. Kansas City was the right place for me. These past two years, we’ve done some marvelous things. They’ve helped me grow as a person.”
Bashaud Breeland has been such an unbelievable bargain 2 years in a row. Consistent, aggressive CB who contests well in coverage and is a physical tackler.
— Seth Keysor (@RealMNchiefsfan) January 25, 2021
It’s crazy how they all gangin up on me lol
— Bashaud Breeland (@Bree2Land6) April 14, 2021
Meanwhile, the Chiefs are currying Breeland’s favor by offering flowers via social media.
— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) May 19, 2021
Vikings Clearing Cap Space
Ironically, Kansas City recently acquired former Vikings first-round cornerback Mike Hughes in a trade last week. Minnesota didn’t gain much from the transaction, essentially upgrading a seventh-round pick sent with Hughes to Kansas City into a sixth-rounder.
However, the Vikings did clear $1.8 million in cap space off the books by parting with Hughes. Minnesota gains an additional $7.6 million in cap space after June 1 from releasing Kyle Rudolph. After signing its rookies, Minnesota will have $13.78 million in cap space after KRudolph’s post-June 1 cap savings kick in, per OverTheCap.
The Vikings have made significant moves to improve the secondary this offseason. But with newly signed veterans Patrick Peterson and Mackensie Alexander on single-year deals, those moves are just Band-aid’s at the cornerback position. Adding another veteran cornerback like Breeland on a prove-it contract would give Minnesota many options to explore who to bring back during the 2022 offseason.
Breeland’s visit to Vikings could have been made in spite of the Chiefs or as posturing in potential contract negotiations. However, if they cannot reach a deal to his liking, Minnesota has already opened its doors to Breeland.