Vikings cornerback Mike Hughes, who missed both of the team’s playoff games after landing on injured reserve Jan. 3, sustained a broken vertebra in his neck, according to league sources.
Hughes was first listed on the Vikings’ injury report with a neck injury after the team’s Week 17 game against the Bears; he played 28 of the team’s 75 snaps in the game, starting at left cornerback while the Vikings rested Xavier Rhodes and Trae Waynes with their playoff spot secure. Hughes was a full participant in the Vikings’ first practice of the week before the wild-card game against the Saints but was limited on that Thursday and placed on injured reserve Friday.
Asked about Hughes’ status in his season-ending news conference Monday, coach Mike Zimmer said, “He should be good to go. I mean, it will heal.” Zimmer did not reveal specifics about Hughes’ injury but said the cornerback should be ready for the Vikings’ offseason program this spring.
The 30th overall pick in the 2017 draft, Hughes played in 14 games this season, starting three and posting one interception. He played both the outside and nickel cornerback spots, working with Rhodes and Waynes in a three-man rotation that Zimmer implemented later in the season. Hughes also returned 14 kickoffs for 104 yards. It was his first full season in the NFL, after a torn left ACL ended his rookie season after six games.