Mike Hughes has everything in his favor to be the starting cornerback on the outside on opening day. Everything beyond that is very much up in the air, including where Hughes will line up in different sets. Could he slide inside to the nickel when the Vikings play with three or four cornerbacks?
The second starting spot should come down to two players: Holton Hill and rookie Jeff Gladney. Hill has a leg up thanks to his experience and flashes of good play in his young career. Gladney, a first-round pick, will be itching to get onto the field to prove Mike Zimmer right.
Hill has the edge right now because he offers some size on the outside that the Vikings would be lacking with Gladney and Hughes in the lineup. With a history of suspensions and red flags, Holton Hill must prove that he can be a reliable player on and off the field, but the talent is there.
When the Vikings implement three cornerbacks, expect Jeff Gladney to be the third guy. Gladney, Hill, and Hughes bring some versatility in that regard, as Gladney and Hughes can alternate in the slot while using Hill’s size and physicality on the perimeter.