Hughes caps strong spring with pick six
EGAN, Minn. — Mike Hughes returned an interception 57 yards for a touchdown last year with Central Florida. During practice with the Vikings on Thursday, June 14, he had one even longer.
Taken by the Vikings with the No. 30 pick in April’s draft, Hughes caught a ball that bounced off tight end Josiah Price and rambled down the field to the end zone on the final day of minicamp.
Hughes shrugged off the play. Still, it was a good way to cap off what was a strong spring for the rookie.
“I was pleased with him,” head coach Mike Zimmer said. “I thought he did a nice job. Still a learning experience for him. I thought the way he handled himself, the way he tried to learn and listen and all those things, I thought it was good.”
Hughes said there is still much to learn before he reports to training camp with other rookies on July 24.
“I’m pretty pleased,” he said. “I’ve still got a ways to go, but I feel pretty comfortable with everything I’ve learned. Over these next five weeks, I’ll be down in the playbook and I’ll be ready to go.”
In getting ready for camp, Hughes plans to focus more on playing nickel back than on outside corner.
“Corner is something I’ve been playing recently,” he said. The focus, he said, will be “just learning the nickel position, getting comfortable doing everything they tell me to do.”
Hughes also returns kickoffs and punts and will battle holdover Marcus Sherels in training camp for each of those roles.
During each of Zimmer’s five years as coach, he has invited Vikings alumni to join his players for a barbecue following the final practice of spring drills. Thursday was no exception.
“It’s always great to see those guys and hear some of their stories and hear them talk about the old days when they had to walk uphill both ways,” said wide receiver Adam Thielen.
Thursday’s visitors included former coach Jerry Burns and players Chuck Foreman, Dave Osborn, Stu Voigt, Gene Washington, Rickey Young, John Henderson, John Swain and Neal Guggemos.
Washington was a wide receiver at Michigan State before being taken by Minnesota in the first round of the 1967 draft. He enjoyed catching up with quarterback Kirk Cousins, a former Spartans star who entered the NFL with the Redskins in 2012 and signed with the Vikings in March.
“When he was at Michigan State, in his senior year (2011), I was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, so I spent a lot of time with him and I got to know him well,” Washington said. “He’s a super, super young man and a talented football player and I’m so proud and happy to have him here.”
Vikings defensive end Brian Robison, who has said he likely will retire after this season, is planning to return in the future for alumni barbecues. “I’ll definitely be back here for one, that’s for sure,” he said.
- Safety Harrison Smith has little doubt that Terence Newman could help the Vikings at safety if needed. Newman, mostly a cornerback, was at that spot in practice this week. “He can play either position, corner, nickel or safety, special teams,” Smith said. “He probably knows all the linebacker positions, too.”
- Signs continue to point to Mike Remmers, mostly the right tackle last year, starting at right guard. He was at that spot regularly after the first week of organized team activities, when he was a right tackle because Rashod Hill was banged up. Remmers and Hill are likely to be joined as starters by left tackle Riley Reiff, left guard Nick Easton and center Pat Elflein.