The Vikings let it be known last week that cornerback Mike Hughes wasn’t part of their long-term future. Now, he’s not part of their short-term future either.
On Thursday, the Vikings traded Hughes and a seventh-round draft pick in 2022 to Kansas City for a 2022 sixth-round selection. The move clears $1.825 million off the books for the final year of Hughes’ contract in 2021. But the Vikings still have $1.314 million on the salary cap for him due to a prorated portion of his signing bonus from after he was the No. 30 pick in the first round of the 2018 draft.
The Vikings last week did not pick up Hughes’ fifth-year contract option for 2022, which would have been worth a fully guaranteed $12.643 million. That move was expected on Hughes, who has missed 24 of 48 possible games in his three-year career because of injuries.
Hughes was on injured reserve for the final 10 games last season due to a neck injury. However, a source told the Pioneer Press in March that he had returned to being “fully healthy.”
Hughes has $648,076 of his salary guaranteed for 2021, so the Vikings saved that amount by trading rather than cutting him. Had he been cut, the Vikings would saved $1.177 million rather than $1.825 million. And they also get an improved draft pick for 2022.
The Vikings in March signed free-agent cornerbacks Patrick Peterson and Mackensie Alexander. However, it remains to be seen how their cornerback depth will shake out for 2021.
Jeff Gladney, a starter last season, was arrested April 5 in Dallas on a charge of third-degree felony family violence assault from an alleged incident on April 2 involving a woman. And Vikings general manager Rick Spielman has said that fourth-round pick Camryn Bynum, the only cornerback they took in the draft, will be moved to safety.
Spielman spoke well of the team’s cornerback depth two weeks ago after the draft, but said the Vikings still might look for more players at the position.
“Wee feel we have some pretty good depth there,” he said. “We’ll continue to look to add to that.”
Vikings sign rookies
On the eve of Vikings rookie minicamp, sources said three draft picks agreed Thursday to contract terms.
Wide receiver and kickoff returner Ihmir Smith-Marsette, taken with the No. 157 pick in the fifth round out of Iowa, will get a four-year, $3.8 million contract, including a $318,960 signing bonus. Tight end Zach Davidson, the No. 168 pick in the fifth round out of Central Missouri, will receive a four-year, $3.78 million deal with a $301,772 signing bonus. And defensive tackle Jaylen Twyman, the No. 199 pick in the sixth round from Pittsburgh, will receive a four-year, $3.65 million deal with a signing bonus of $174,940.
Smith-Marsette will count $739,740 on the 2021 salary cap, Davidson $735,443 and Twyman $703,735.
Smith-Marsette caught 106 passes in his college career at Iowa and also averaged 26.7 yards on kickoff returns, returning two for touchdowns. He is expected to battle running backs Ameer Abdullah and Kene Nwangwu for the Vikings’ kickoff return job. Abdullah has had the job since 2018; Nwangwu is a fourth-round draft pick out of Iowa State.
Davidson caught 40 passes for 894 yards in 2019 before Central Missouri cancelled the 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic. He also was a Division II All-American punter in 2019, but has said the Vikings aren’t looking at him in that role.
Twyman had 10 1/2 sacks in 2019 before opting out of last season.
The Vikings will hold rookie minicamp Friday through Sunday at the TCO Performance Center in Eagan.