In an unusual sequence of events leading up to the Vikings’ Wild Card game against New Orleans, cornerback Mike Hughes went from fully participating in practice to landing on injured reserve two days later.
Hughes was listed as a full participant on the injury report on Wednesday, January 1st. He was listed as a limited participant the following day. On Friday, January 3rd he was placed on IR with a neck injury.
Head coach Mike Zimmer said during his Friday press conference that week that Hughes suffered the injury “playing football.” He also added that the injury did not take place in Thursday’s practice.
While Hughes played 36 snaps in the regular season finale against Chicago the week prior, it’s still unclear if the injury was suffered during that game. So while we still don’t know when the injury took place, we now know more details about what the actual injury is.
According to an article by Ben Goessling of the Star Tribune, Hughes sustained a broken neck vertebra.
Vikings CB Mike Hughes is recovering from a broken vertebra in his neck, sources said. Here’s what we know at this point: https://t.co/MHxU4nRH8F
— Ben Goessling (@GoesslingStrib) January 16, 2020
While the severity of the injury will determine how long it will take to heal (could be anywhere from 6-8 weeks to around 3 months per the AANS), Zimmer said Hughes “should be good to go” for the team’s offseason program this spring. The Viking’s offseason program may begin on April 20th.
Zimmer also noted during his season-ending press conference that he was not aware of any scheduled surgeries or operations this offseason involving his players.
Hughes played in 14 games in 2019, starting three of them. Playing both outside cornerback and in the slot, Hughes registered 43 tackles, 2 forces fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries, 9 passes defensed and one interception. He also returned 14 kickoffs for 104 yards.
This is the second significant injury suffered by Hughes in his young NFL career. The team’s first-round draft pick in 2018 suffered a torn ACL after six games his rookie season. Best of wishes to Mike for a speedy recovery and full health in the future.