The Vikings officially declined Monday to exercise their fifth-year option for the 2022 season on cornerback Mike Hughes, in a widely-expected move that could mean their 2018 first-round pick is headed into his final days in Minnesota.
Hughes has been plagued by injuries since the Vikings drafted him 30th overall in 2018. He tore his ACL during his sixth game as a rookie, and sustained a cracked vertebra in his neck during the final regular season game of 2019 that kept him out for the playoffs once the Vikings realized the injury was more serious than they initially thought.
The injury was the source of Hughes' neck problems again in 2020, sources said last season, and he played just four games last year. He has been working out this offseason with plans for a full fourth season with the Vikings, but his role in the secondary is not guaranteed, given the team's decisions to sign Patrick Peterson and bring back Mackensie Alexander on a one-year deal.