The eighth-year veteran is currently the worst-graded cornerback in the NFL by Pro Football Focus (PFF), ranking 108th of 108 players graded at his position.
Breeland has allowed 18 receptions on 21 targets for 257 yards and four touchdowns to the tune of a nearly perfect 157.2 passer rating allowed in coverage. He’s trending downwards in the past two weeks, allowing all 13 pass attempts thrown his way to be caught for 150 yards and two TDs, per PFF.
His performance has come under scrutiny. Breeland was deemed a must-bench player by Bleacher Report.
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‘It’s Puzzling That Breeland is Still Starting’
This week, Bleacher Report’s Alex Kay assessed all 32 NFL teams to find a player on each team that should be benched immediately.
He was puzzled by the Vikings’ decision to continue to roll out Breeland despite his poor play. From Bleacher Report:
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 (other than Week 2). 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.
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Dantzler in the Dog House
What’s even more perplexing than Breeland’s starting status is second-year corner Cameron Dantzler.
The third-round pick who was the NFL’s top corner through a seven-week span last season and was deemed a breakout candidate has struggled in the preseason. He has since been demoted to the bottom of the depth chart.
Dantzler was benched in the season opener and responded with a strong performance against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 2, allowing two catches for 23 yards on four targets and a 54.6 passer rating across 16 snaps. It was a limited body of work, but for Dantzler to be relegated back to strictly a special teams role a week later shows he hasn’t redeemed himself fully just yet.
Meanwhile, the Vikings pass defense, ranked 27th in the league, has yet to see its fruition after signing four new starters to the secondary, including Breeland — on a one-year, $4 million contract.
The team seems more invested in getting Breeland, who won a Super Bowl with the Kansas City Chiefs, up to speed and is willing to overlook his early blunders.
Dantzler will have to make the most of his opportunities in the meantime while the Vikings continue to refine the secondary. However, he has reached a boiling point after firing off several cryptic tweets this season.