The Vikings have agreed to terms with veteran cornerback Bashaud Breeland, the team announced on Twitter on Friday afternoon. It's a one-year deal worth up to $4 million, per NFL Network's Mike Garafolo.
Breeland visited the Vikings back on May 21 and clearly liked their pitch, but he took his time making a decision. He had also been in contact with the Bears, among other teams.
This is a huge addition for the Vikings. Mike Zimmer and Rick Spielman saw what happened to their team at the cornerback position in 2020 and must've vowed to make sure they didn't let that happen again. They've now added Breeland, Patrick Peterson, Mackensie Alexander, and a few other depth corners to a group that already includes Cameron Dantzler, Harrison Hand, and Kris Boyd. Even if Jeff Gladney winds up being cut or facing a lengthy suspension for his legal situation, the Vikings are still suddenly loaded at one of the game's most important positions.
In one year, the Vikings have gone from Holton Hill, Mike Hughes, and rookies Dantzler and Gladney as their top four corners to Dantzler, Peterson, Alexander, and Breeland. That's a pretty substantial upgrade.
Breeland, a fourth-round pick out of Clemson in 2014, began his career with four productive but slightly inconsistent seasons in Washington. Since then, he's been living on one-year deals. Breeland spent 2018 with the Packers before landing with the Chiefs for the past two seasons.
"I'm going back there to the NFC North, just on another side after being in Green Bay," Breeland told ESPN's Josina Anderson. "I feel it's a great opportunity being with a defensive-minded HC, Patrick Peterson and getting to mentor the young guys as a vet myself."
Breeland instantly slides in as the Vikings' No. 4 corner, at worst. He's primarily been an outside corner in his career, but he does have a fair amount of experience playing in the slot as well. Breeland's clearest path to competing for a starting job is probably beating out Alexander in the slot, although he could also earn rotational snaps on the outside with Peterson and Dantzler. The value he brings to Minnesota's depth at the position is massive, considering how frequently corners get banged up and have to miss time.
In his seven-year career, Breeland has 14 interceptions, 81 passes defended, and eight forced fumbles. He's an all-around corner who can cover, make plays on the ball, and tackle effectively. There's a reason Chiefs fans wanted him back and Bears fans were hoping he'd end up in Chicago. Breeland is underrated, versatile, and extremely competitive.
Coincidentally, it's kind of like the Vikings and Chiefs swapped Breeland and Hughes this offseason, as the injury-prone former first-rounder was traded from Minnesota to Kansas City earlier this offseason. That's a win for Minnesota, as Breeland is the more established player and doesn't come with the durability concerns.
This move is the latest in what has been a strong offseason for the Vikings, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. They've added free agents Peterson, Alexander, Breeland, and Xavier Woods to the secondary while pairing Dalvin Tomlinson with Michael Pierce in the middle of the defensive line. If they can go out and get a pass rusher — and make Danielle Hunter happy somehow — this has a chance to be a very, very good defense.
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