Following his second significant injury in as many seasons, Vikings cornerback Mike Hughes is “doing well and ready to go whenever things get going,” according to KSTP’s Darren Wolfson.
Some good news for the #Vikings: Hear that CB Mike Hughes (neck) is doing well and ready to go whenever things get going. He missed the two playoff games, which seems like forever ago.— Darren Wolfson (@DWolfsonKSTP) April 15, 2020
Hughes (5-10, 189) suffered a broken vertebra in his neck which forced him to miss both of the team’s playoff games last season. Despite the scary diagnosis, head coach Mike Zimmer expressed confidence at the end of the season that Hughes would be ready for the team’s offseason program, which would have began on April 20th (NFL teams will now run a voluntary “Virtual Period” due to the pandemic).
The 2018 first-round pick has now suffered two substantial injuries his first two NFL seasons. Hughes missed ten games his rookie season after tearing his ACL in Week 6. He injured his neck during the team’s Week 17 matchup last season.
Following the departures of Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes and Mackensie Alexander in free agency, Hughes is suddenly the team’s most experienced player at the position — with five starts under his belt. The expectation is he will be able take a big leap forward with an expanded role in season three.
Selected with the 30th overall pick out of UCF two years ago, Hughes is a special athlete who is capable of playing cornerback and returning kicks at a high level. He has shown playmaking ability as a pass defender and has the versatility to play on the outside or inside as a nickel corner.
News of his neck being fully healthy is certainly welcome news for the Vikings, who currently boast a cornerback group of Hughes, Holton Hill, Kris Boyd, Mark Fields, Nate Meadors, Marcus Sayles and defensive back Kemon Hall. The team is expected to add more talent to the position in the early rounds of the draft as well as undrafted free agency.