Vikings’ Basswood Breeland looks to beat ‘tough start’ in NFL – Twin Cities
Cornerback Basaud Breeland’s team went from the start of the Super Bowl to a huge disappointment.
When the Vikings signed him to a one-year, $3 million contract in June, they had high hopes for Breeland, who was a starter in each of the last Super Bowls in Kansas City. Breeland then beat Cameron Dantzler, who started 10 of the 11 games he played for the Vikings last season as a rookie.
But in Minnesota’s first four games, things didn’t go so well.
“It’s a tough start,” Breeland admitted on Friday. “A new team, a new scheme, trying to get basic with the team and calling play. It was a tough start, but I mean we still have a lot of football to play.”
How bad is that for Breeland? Pro Football Focus ranked him last out of 103 players in the NFL
“It doesn’t bother me,” Breeland said of the rating. “It just keeps me going. I’m now getting ready to play the next game. I’m DB. One-track mind, honey.”
The next game will be on Sunday against Detroit at US Bank Stadium, and indications are that Breeland will be in the Vikings’ starting lineup for the fifth time in a row. There has been speculation in recent weeks that Dantzler could replace him, but he is on the COVID-19 reserve list and hasn’t trained all week.
After placing Dantzler on the list on Monday, he tweeted that he was fully vaccinated and would be back soon, although Vikings coach Mike Zimmer did not confirm this on Wednesday.
The Vikings could be up against the lions as Harrison Hand is also on the COVID-19 list. Joint Defense Coordinator Adam Zimmer said Thursday that the Vikings could lift Barry Nickerson or Ty Smith off the coaching squad for a corner depth. Nickerson has allowed two hikes this season but could be a replacement for COVID-19.
Vikings cornerback Chris Boyd is expected to come back after being knocked out last Sunday in a 14-7 loss to Cleveland with a hamstring injury. But there is no indication that he might replace Breeland, 29, who has received support from Zimmer.
“I don’t think he missed a step,” Zimmer said Friday. “I think he had some technical flaws in the red, but he seemed to be correcting them really well this week (in practice). I love him. He has good acceleration. He’s tough. So, we’ll see how it goes.”
Against Brown, Breeland left the match after six shots and was replaced by Dantzler, who played the last 72 defensive matches and looked good. The Vikings announced during the match that Breeland’s departure was due to illness.
Breeland said on Friday he had an upset stomach but could have returned to the match if necessary.
“I was good enough to go if they needed me to go,” he said. “We felt Dantzler could get the job done, so we kept working.”
Berland’s last game against Cleveland was a 21-yard catch by Rashard Higgins after there appeared to be high school confusion. Breeland shrugged off a question as to whether that gain in third and tenth places played a role in his departure from the game.
Breeland is in his eighth NFL season, and he’s had his share of good moments. Entering this year, he started 88 of the 94 games he played with Washington, Green Bay and Kansas City. He had seven interferences, including two for a loss, and an interception in the Chiefs’ 31-20 win over San Francisco at the Super Bowl LIVE in February 2020 and had four interferences in their 31-9 loss to Tampa Bay in Super Bowl LV last February.
The Chiefs chose not to re-sign Breeland when he became a free agent in March. And when Minnesota played Kansas City in the pre-season finale, Breeland was defeated by Terek Hill for a 35-yard pass.
The regular season was no better. In the opening game on September 12 in Cincinnati, Breeland was called up for a 26-yard tackle penalty that led to a touchdown, and was hit at 50 yards by Ja’Marr Chase. He has been the lowest ranked NFL by Pro Football Focus since that game.