Vikings cornerback Bashaud Breeland: incidents that led to his release 'blown out of proportion'
Former Minnesota Vikings cornerback Bashaud Breeland says the incidents that led to him being waived were "blown out of proportion."
According to Breeland, it all started with a verbal exchange with a coach in meetings before practice.
"I feel like what happened in the meeting room with the coach was not serious enough to be an issue on the practice field," Breeland told USA Today Sports+ during an exclusive interview Saturday.
That incident was not with head coach Mike Zimmer, but Breeland declined to give names.
Breeland then was involved in a verbal altercation with coaches and teammates at practice Saturday, according to Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network. Pelissero reported that from the team’s perspective the situation was "too much to come back from." USA Today Sports+ reached out to the Vikings. They declined to comment.
NFL Network reported Breeland removed his cleats and proceeded to confront teammates.
The 29-year-old cornerback, who started 13 games for the Vikings this season, disagreed with this account.
Following the meeting room exchange, Breeland said he went onto the field with the intention of practicing, but was later pulled off.
"After that, I sat a while and took off my cleats and put my workout shoes on,” Breeland said, adding he remained attentive to practice and listened to the coach’s corrections.
Later, while switching fields, he said a player came up to him and said, “What’s up Breezy?” Breeland said he nodded his head in response and the player asked, “That’s all I get?”
"I was like, ‘Bro’ I’m not trying to be a distraction. Just let me get on the move. I’m good,'" Breeland said. "Then, it escalated out of nowhere."
The player charged, “like he wanted to fight,” Breeland said. Others intervened. Breeland declined to share the names of those involved.
"The whole time I had my hands in my hoodie," he said. "You can see my demeanor was like, ‘I’m not on that, but if you want to be on that we can be on that.’
“That’s when the general manager stepped in on the field. I feel like Zimmer came over there, saw confusion and just kicked me out. I feel like Zimmer was already feeling some kind of way because I wasn’t practicing. I said, ‘If I’m not being cut or released I shouldn’t have to leave practice.’”
Breeland said he spoke with general manager Rick Spielman after practice, along with a “player personnel staff member” and two of the players involved to understand what happened. He later received a call from Spielman saying he would not travel, but they would “resume this Tuesday,” Breeland said. His agent later told him he was being released.
Initially, the Vikings listed Breeland as questionable for Monday night's game against the Chicago Bears for an unspecified non-injury related reason. He was waived two hours later.
The options for the Vikings (6-7) to replace Breeland are limited. In his eight years, Breeland has played for four teams and recorded 16 interceptions and 10 forced fumbles. He had two of each this season for the Vikings.
USA Today Sports+ producer Emily Olsen contributed to this report.