The Viking believe rookie cornerback Mike Hughes suffered a torn ACL against the Cardinals, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter link). Hughes will undergo an MRI on Monday to confirm the preliminary diagnosis.
Hughes, 21, was the Vikings’ first-round pick (No. 30 overall) in the 2018 draft, but he’s played starter’s snaps despite Minnesota head coach’s Mike Zimmer‘s usual reticence to deploy rookies. Hughes has played primarily in the slot for the Vikings, but he’s also been asked to play outside while fellow corner Trae Waynes deals with injury.
All in all, Hughes has played like a slightly-below average cornerback during his rookie campaign. Pro Football Focus grades Hughes as the No. 69 corner among 119 qualifiers, while he ranks 35th among 66 qualifiers in Football Outsiders’ success rate, which measures cornerbacks’ ability to stop opposing receivers short of the sticks. FO also charts Hughes with allowing 9.1 yards per pass, good for 48th among corners.
If Hughes is indeed out for the year, the Vikings will turn to Mackensie Alexander to man the slot, while Holton Hill could conceivably also see more snaps. Jalen Myrick is the only corner on Minnesota’s practice squad, and he could be a candidate to be promoted to the active roster. If the Vikings want to look at the free agent market, they could look at options such as David Amerson, Tony Lippett, Jeremy Lane, or Sterling Moore.
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