Mike Hughes watched Vikings defensive backs run through position drills from the sideline of Wednesday’s practice, when the struggling defense started moving forward without two starting cornerbacks.
Hughes popped up on the injury report with a neck problem, nearly nine months after his season ended due to a cracked vertebra suffered in the regular season finale against the Bears. He’s played a full role so far, appearing in 117 snaps [77.5%] through two games before sitting out Wednesday.
Hughes (neck) and cornerback Cameron Dantzler (rib) were among four players unable to practice. Linebacker Troy Dye (ankle) and running back Mike Boone (concussion) were also sidelined.
Dantzler missed Sunday’s loss in Indianapolis and has not practiced since suffering the rib injury Sept. 13 against the Packers. The Vikings started Hughes, Holton Hill and Jeff Gladney in the defense’s nickel package.
Left tackle Riley Reiff (ankle) was limited Wednesday.
Dye, the fourth-round pick out of Oregon, replaced Anthony Barr in the Vikings’ 4-3 base defense against the Colts, but without him they may turn to Ryan Connelly or Hardy Nickerson Jr. Dye injured his ankle during the second quarter in Indianapolis, but returned to play the second half.
With a wrap on his left thumb, guard Pat Elflein worked off to the side of practice during his second week on injured reserve. Defensive end Danielle Hunter, entering his third week on I.R., did the same while nursing a reported neck injury of his own. General manager Rick Spielman has said the team was hopeful Hunter would be able to return as early as possible on Oct. 4 in Houston, but that they’d need to reassess the neck injury.
Titans’ injury report: Six Titans did not practice Wednesday in receiver A.J. Brown (knee), tight end Jonnu Smith (ankle), cornerback Malcolm Butler (quad), tackle Dennis Kelly (illness), cornerback Chris Jackson (hamstring) and linebacker Derrick Roberson (illness). Linebacker Vic Beasley (knee) and running back Darrynton Evans (hamstring) were full participants.