Almost exactly 11 months after injuring multiple ligaments in his left knee, Vikings cornerback Mike Hughes will return to play his first game Sunday against the Raiders.
Hughes said this week he’s “ready” and trusts his surgically-repaired knee “100 percent,” making his return expected despite the Vikings listing him as questionable against the Raiders. Hughes, who was injured in Week 6 of his rookie season, fully practiced all week.
Hughes’ return gives the Vikings much-needed depth at cornerback, where Mackensie Alexander remains sidelined since dislocating his right elbow Sept. 8 against the Falcons. He’ll likely play as the nickel cornerback along with safety Jayron Kearse, who started last week in Green Bay.
Head coach Mike Zimmer indicated this month the Vikings will have “packages” for Hughes upon his return, meaning he isn’t expected to start.
The Vikings will be without linebacker Anthony Barr, who injured his groin during Wednesday’s practice. Barr did not practice Thursday and was limited Friday. He went through a pregame warmup at U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday morning, but the Vikings decided to shut him down for the game.
Two other Vikings players — linebacker Ben Gedeon (groin) and left guard Pat Elflein (knee) — are making their return.
Vikings’ inactives: Alexander (elbow), Barr (groin), DT Jalyn Holmes, DT Armon Watts, OT Oli Udoh, C Brett Jones and G Dru Samia.
Raiders’ inactives: G Gabe Jackson (knee), WR Dwayne Harris (ankle), WR Ryan Grant, QB DeShone Kizer, DT Corey Liuget, T David Sharpe and WR Trevor Davis.
In other news, Vikings receivers Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen were each fined $10,527 for penalties last week in Green Bay, sources told the Star Tribune; Diggs for removing his helmet (unsportsmanlike conduct); Thielen for reacting to a blindside hit from Packers corner Jaire Alexander by kicking him (unnecessary roughness).