What does drafting Mike Hughes mean for the Vikings’ other cornerbacks?

(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) Trae Waynes
(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) Trae Waynes /

With the Minnesota Vikings using their 2018 first-round pick on a corner, what impact will it make on the rest of the team’s defensive backfield?

Adding Central Florida cornerback Mike Hughes with their first selection of the 2018 NFL Draft on Thursday was not really that surprising of a move made by the Minnesota Vikings.

A number of draft “experts” and analysts felt like this was the direction the Vikings could go in the first round this year and then they actually did. Minnesota now has three corners on their current roster that have been drafted in the first round (Hughes, Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes).

So with Hughes now joining the mix, what does his arrival mean for the Vikings’ other corners currently on their roster?

Xavier Rhodes:

No worries here for Rhodes. Minnesota’s All-Pro corner will remain the team’s top guy on their depth chart in 2018.

Trae Waynes:

This is where things begin to get a little interesting. Despite Hughes’ size (5-foot-11, 170 pounds), he only spent three percent of his snaps in the slot last year at Central Florida.

The Vikings are expected to pick up Waynes’ fifth-year option in the next few days, which would increase his salary in 2019 to more than $9 million. It’s possible that Minnesota is questioning if Waynes is even worth that kind of money right now.

Hughes might have just been drafted to be the Vikings’ eventual replacement for Waynes on the outside.

(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) Mackensie Alexander
(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) Mackensie Alexander /

Mackensie Alexander:

Since Minnesota selected Alexander with a second-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, the team has been trying to make him their permanent nickel corner.

He began last season in the role, but was eventually replaced by veteran cornerback Terence Newman. Did the Vikings just draft Hughes to be their new guy in the slot?

Even though he spent the majority of his time lined up on the outside at Central Florida, Minnesota’s latest first-round pick has the size comparable to an average NFL nickel corner.

Minnesota Vikings
Minnesota Vikings /

Minnesota Vikings

Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer may believe that Hughes has a better chance to succeed in the slot than Alexander.

Marcus Sherels:

It’s hard to remember sometimes that Sherels is technically a cornerback for Minnesota. But the Vikings’ newest draft pick could actually impact Sherels’ main duties as a returner.

At Central Florida last year, Hughes averaged 31.8 yards per kick return and 16.6 yards per punt return. He also took three of these returns back for touchdowns last season.

Minnesota general manager Rick Spielman said on Thursday that Hughes’ abilities on special teams had a, “huge part,” to do with the team drafting him this year.

Next: 5 bold Vikings predictions for the 2018 draft

It’s possible that the Vikings could keep Sherels around as their punt returner in 2018 and have Hughes just be their guy on kickoffs. But then again, there’s also a chance that Minnesota may want their new first-round pick to return both kicks and punts next season, meaning Sherels could be on his way out.