What Hughes’ return means moving forward
With Mike Hughes’ status for 2019 unknown and Holton Hill having to serve an eight-game suspension to begin the year, the Vikings’ cornerback depth has been a big question mark as the team prepares for their regular season opener.
Minnesota is set with their top three guys on their cornerback depth chart with Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes, and Mackensie Alexander. But finding someone to lock down the No. 4 corner role for the Vikings until Hughes or Hill returns has been a struggle for the Vikings this summer.
But with Minnesota removing Hughes from the PUP list on Monday, there is now at least a decent chance that he could suit up for the team’s first game of the year against the Atlanta Falcons on September 8.
Until the young corner begins to be a full participant in the Vikings’ practices though, his status for the season opener still remains unknown.
Minnesota also needs to be careful with not rushing Hughes back onto the field before he is ready. It’s possible that Dalvin Cook’s hamstring injury last season was related to him returning to the Vikings too early after tearing his ACL in 2017. Minnesota should look at Cook’s recovery last year and make sure they don’t have the same thing happen to Hughes this season.
There’s also a chance that the young Vikings corner might not play in the team’s first few games of the season.
Minnesota might have just activated Hughes from the preseason PUP list to prevent him from beginning the year on the regular season version of the list. If he remained on the PUP list at the start of the regular season, he would have been forced to sit out the Vikings’ first six games of the year.
In 2018, Minnesota removed offensive lineman Pat Elflein from the PUP list just before the regular season kicked off. However, Elflein didn’t suit up for the Vikings until their third game of the year and something similar could be what lies ahead for Hughes.
Whenever he hits the field again for Minnesota though, the talent level of the team’s defensive backfield will definitely get a nice boost.