Mike Hughes – CB
Mike Hughes was drafted in the first round of the 2018 draft by the Vikings and it’s time he proves to the team that he was worthy of such a high choice.
So far, Hughes’ career has been more about the time he’s missed on the field than his actual play on it. He suffered an ACL injury as a rookie in 2018 and he missed 10 games.
That injury also caused him to miss Minnesota’s first two games of 2019. Hughes was hurt again in 2019 with an injured neck, which caused him to miss both of the Vikings’ playoff games.
While the injuries and missed time have been the story of Hughes’ NFL career so far, his play on the field when healthy, has been a bit of a mixed bag.
Hughes has had moments where he’s looked very good. He’s made some key tackles and knocked away some passes using good coverage skills and technique. Hughes even has a couple of interceptions to his name including one he took to the house for a score.
He’s also got plenty of bad tape. There were too many times a season ago where Hughes would allow too much space between himself and the man he was covering. This led to easy completions for the opposing offense.
He also had plenty of missed tackles and plays where he would swat at the pass but miss and it would end up in the hands of the receiver he was covering.
Hughes is definitely entering a prove-it season. He is the Vikings’ most experienced corner and he will almost assuredly start the 2020 season as the team’s No. 1 cornerback. He’ll be lining up against the opposing team’s top options in the passing game and will need to show the skills he displayed in college that made him a 2019 first-round draft choice.
It often takes corners a couple of seasons to fully understand Mike Zimmer’s coverage schemes. But Hughes is there now and this is the year where he has to put it all together.