Career with Vikings could be ending sooner than later for Mike Hughes

(Photo by Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports) Mike Hughes
(Photo by Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports) Mike Hughes /

Heading into the final season of his rookie deal, the Minnesota Vikings are not expected to pick up the fifth-year contract option for cornerback Mike Hughes.

During his first-ever regular-season game as a member of the Minnesota Vikings in 2018, Mike Hughes intercepted a pass and took it 28 yards in the other direction for a touchdown.

Hughes continued to experience some success during the next few contests of his rookie campaign with the Vikings. But then the young cornerback, unfortunately, suffered a knee injury midway through the 2018 season that knocked him out for the rest of the year.

Since that injury, Hughes has struggled to perform at the high level that was expected from him after Minnesota selected him in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft.

How much longer will Mike Hughes remain with the Minnesota Vikings

The cornerback’s struggles at the pro level continued last season when he was only able to appear in four games due to injury. Things haven’t gone as well as Hughes or the Vikings had hoped when he was drafted in the first round and some have even wondered if he will be on the team’s roster for the 2021 campaign.

Even if Minnesota chooses to keep Hughes around for next season, it could end up being his last year with the franchise.

On Monday, the Pioneer Press’ Chris Tomasson reported that the Vikings are “not expected,” to exercise the fifth-year option on Hughes’ rookie contract. Minnesota has until May 4 to exercise the option or not and it wouldn’t be a surprise at all if they didn’t pick it up for the young corner.

If the Vikings choose to bring Hughes back for next season, it’s unclear what exactly his role would be with the team.

Most are assuming that Cameron Dantzler and Jeff Gladney will begin the 2021 campaign as the top two players on Minnesota’s cornerback depth chart. So where does that leave Hughes? Is he used in the slot or on the outside? Would the Vikings attempt to utilize his skills as a returner more in 2021 if he’s not spending as much time on defense?

These are all questions Minnesota will have to answer before a season that certainly has a chance to be Hughes’ last in a purple and gold uniform.