Mike Hughes – CB
This is the biggest season of Mike Hughes’ fledgling career so far. The former first-round pick has the chance to become the Vikings No. 1 cornerback option following a large number of departures this year. But there are plenty of questions regarding his ability to make the necessary step up in class.
There is no denying the sort of ability Hughes has at his disposal. That has never been a problem with him. What is more concerning is the corner’s ability to stay healthy for a prolonged period of time. This is something that has hampered his development considerably at the pro level.
Minnesota seemed more than willing to go their separate ways with Trae Waynes and Xavier Rhodes this offseason. Both performed below expectations in 2019 and a fresh start was probably best for all parties involved.
Minnesota did draft a pair of talented cornerbacks in Jeff Gladney and Cameron Dantzler this year, who both had first-round grades. So Hughes will need to stand up and be counted in no uncertain terms with two playmaking corners looking for valuable minutes on the field this season.
Not having a preseason should keep the wolves from Hughes’ door initially. But if he falls back into old habits, then it probably won’t take long for the Vikings coaching staff to look in a different direction.
Given the injury history surrounding Hughes, not being on the field at any stage in the preseason is also a benefit to his health. But it remains to be seen whether he is ready for the responsibility of covering the opposition’s best receiving threat on a constant basis.