Mike Hughes‘ 2020 season ended with him being placed on the injured reserve with a neck injury. We now have more details, as Ben Goessling of the Star Tribune reports that the Vikings cornerback suffered a broken vertebra in his neck.
Fortunately, it sounds like the 23-year-old will return to full health, as head coach Mike Zimmer told reporters that Hughes is “going to be fine.” Further, Zimmer hinted that the 2018 first-rounder (along with Holton Hill and Kris Boyd) could lead the team’s cornerbacks corps in 2020.
“Hughes and Hill and Boyd, they have the ability to do it,” Zimmer said. “Like, during the season I gave them an assignment that I wanted them to do every single day and they did it. That tells me that they want to do it. I think that’s half the battle.”
Minnesota may have to rely on these youngsters next season. As Goessling notes, cornerbacks Trae Waynes and Mackensie Alexander (along with safety Anthony Harris) are set to hit free agency. Further, cornerback Xavier Rhodes could find himself as a cap casualty.
Hughes was limited to only six games as a rookie thanks to a torn ACL, but he returned to appear in 14 games (three starts) in 2019. During his sophomore campaign, the defensive back compiled 45 tackles, nine passes defended, one interception, and two forced fumbles.
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