EAGAN, Minn. (WCCO) — The news didn’t come as a surprise on Monday, but it didn’t sting any less.

Mike Zimmer confirmed that the Vikings’ promising young cornerback, first-round pick Mike Hughes, will miss the rest of the season after tearing his ACL.

WCCO’s David McCoy tells us how the Vikings plan to adapt as they get thinner at one of the league’s most important positions.

Mike Hughes was not technically a starter. Those roles, of course, belong to Xavier Rhodes and Trae Waynes. But he might as well have been.

It’s rare these days that the Vikings have only two cornerbacks on the field. Nickelback has become as important a position as any other…

“In today’s game, they’re really valuable. If you can’t pressure the quarterback, and you can’t cover, you’re gonna have issues,” Zimme said.

And because of that, Hughes had carved out a pretty important role in the Vikings defense. Not to mention twice when he actually did step in as a starter, in part because of injuries to Trae Waynes, in part because he had adapted so well and so quickly to the NFL, earning Mike Zimmer’s trust.

“Yeah, for a young guy, he was real professional about everything. Studied hard, asked good questions,” Zimmer said.

Zimmer saw him continuing to get better every week.

“Because he was learning and continued to learn, and he’s got a lot of great attributes. And toughness. And his skillset is really good,” Zimmer said.

Because of all that, losing Hughes is a bigger deal than might originally meet the eye. But Zimmer says he trusts the guys who will be asked to take his place.

“And we expect them to come in and do a good job,” Zimmer said.

Mike Zimmer has always been fond of saying of defensive backs, you can always use one more. Well, now the Vikings will have to overcome having one less.

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