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How to Move Foward with Mike Hughes Out For the Season

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By: Tanishka Mhaskar and Preet Shah
October 15th, 2018

Vikings 1st round pick Mike Hughes tore his Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) in their win over the Arizona Cardinals, leaving the team without a key part of their defensive back rotation. He will be placed on IR. This comes just one year after the Vikings top pick last year, Dalvin Cook, tore the exact same Ligament vs the Detroit Lions. In 2014, QB Teddy Bridgewater, another 1st round pick also tore his ACL in a non-contact drill during training camp.

The Vikings could essentially do a couple of things here. Keep reading to explore some of the potential options.

Free Agency

The Vikings take a huge blow in their defensive rotation with the loss of Hughes. As of now, they have 5 cornerbacks on the roster. The primary starters will probably be Rhodes, Waynes, and Alexander, with Kearse rotating in the slot. This is a solid group, but what happens when one of them gets injured? The depth will really be tested if the Vikings have to use promising rookie Holton Hill and veteran Marcus Sherels in the rotation.

To stay safe, Minnesota could look for a cornerback in free agency. This is probably not the route the Vikings will take with their minimal cap space, but don’t be surprised if slick Rick—GM of the Minnesota Vikings— figures something out.

One option might be Jeremy Lane. Lane was a 6th round pick by the Seattle Seahawks in 2012, and a part of the Legion of Boom. He would primarily be a depth player, and wouldn’t receive as much playing time as Hughes did.

Another option would be Robert McClain. McClain was drafted in the 7th round by the Carolina Panthers. He has played a lot of special teams as a punt returner and kick returner. This could prove useful for the Vikings since Hughes returned lots of kicks and they must fill that void.

Rely on the Depth

This is definitely the most likely option with Zimmer's scheme being notoriously hard to learn for newcomers.This is the even more likely when you think about the Vikings current cap situation. In all honesty, this might be the best option. I mean we didn't spend first round picks on Trae Waynes and Xavier Rhodes for nothing. With the recent emergence of former second round pick Mackensie Alexander in the slot, it looks as though the Vikings will still have a solid cornerback room. Alexander played the best game of his career on Sunday, which included a key pass breakup on 4th down, and a sack.

Jayron Kearse and George Iloka can also give depth playing a “Big Nickel” role which would match them up well vs receiving tight ends. We also cannot forget about return specialist Marcus Sherels, who also is a serviceable corner, along with promising undrafted rookie Holton Hill.

Patrick Peterson

Okay, hear me out on this one, I know it would sound like something out of Madden and it probably won't happen, but lets just go down this road for fun. The Cardinals are in clear rebuild mode and it is hard to see where Peterson 28, fits into these plans. I understand that with the Vikings cap space or lack thereof, this trade is borderline impossible.

To make this work, the Vikings would probably have to trade one of their defensive starters and a couple of picks. Trae Waynes could be an option, due to his inability to be consistent and stay healthy. Anthony Barr could be another option with his pro-bowl reputation and his fifth year option being 12.3 million dollars.

With Patrick Peterson making about 15 million dollars a year, the package would also likely need to include another starter like Andrew Sendejo. If they didn’t want to trade another starter, Minnesota could get Peterson to restructure his contract and they would probably need to include a couple of draft picks to line up with Arizona's plans of rebuilding.

This most definitely won’t happen, but man is if fun to think about a defense that has Xavier Rhodes and Patrick Peterson, two generational corners as their starters.

No matter what happens, we are praying for Mike Hughes to make a speedy recovery and will miss him on and off the field. On to New York to face the Jets. As always, SKOL.