The Vikings added another piece to their secondary on Thursday night when they drafted cornerback Mike Hughes with the 30th overall pick.
Hughes starred at UCF last year as the Knights went undefeated, picking off four passes and returning three kicks for touchdowns to put him firmly on the draft radar. Hughes going on the first night wasn’t a sure thing, however.
Hughes was arrested in 2015 on a misdemeanor assault charge that was dropped after he did community service and he left North Carolina after a sexual assault allegation. Hughes was never charged and he spoke to teams about his decision to switch schools over the course of the pre-draft process. That process included a visit with the Vikings as well as other vetting that General Manager Rick Spielman said left no doubt that Hughes was a fit in Minnesota.
“We spent a lot of time with a lot of people that had him in their football programs,” Spielman said, via the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. “We spent a lot of time with people outside of football programs. After our extensive research, no question, we felt very confident with him coming in and being a Minnesota Viking.”
Hughes joins fellow first-round picks Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes and Harrison Smith in a Vikings secondary that helped propel the team to the NFC title game last year. If Hughes is as good as the Vikings think he is, they may push for another deep playoff trip again this season.