EAGAN, Minn. -- Minnesota Vikings cornerback Mike Hughes could play in his first game in 11 months on Sunday, Sept. 22, and it would be emotional.
“This is the longest I’ve went without the game, so of course there will be a lot of emotions,’’ he said Wednesday.
Hughes suffered a torn ACL and other ligament damage to his left knee on Oct. 14, 2018, against Arizona, the sixth game of his rookie season. He has been a full participant in practice since last week and could return for Sunday’s game against Oakland at U.S. Bank Stadium.
“I feel like I’m ready,’’ he said. “I just want to get the OK from the coaches and doctors. I’m sure they’re going to do everything in my best interest. I’m just following the plan, trusting the process, and whenever they decide I’m ready to play, I’ll be ready.’’
Hughes could add depth to a depleted secondary. In Sunday’s 21-16 loss at Green Bay, the Vikings were without cornerback Mackensie Alexander, who suffered a dislocated elbow Sept. 8 against Atlanta. They also are without cornerback Holton Hill for the first eight games because of an NFL suspension.
Alexander and linebacker Ben Gedeon, who was inactive against the Packers because of a groin injury, both sat out practice Wednesday.
Guard Pat Elflein, inactive against Green Bay because of a knee injury, was limited in practice. Also limited were linebackers Anthony Barr (groin) and Kentrell Brothers (wrist, hamstring), defensive tackle Shamar Stephen (knee) and safety Jayron Kearse (hip).
Kearse replaced Alexander as the nickel back against the Packers. Eric Wilson took over for Gedeon.
Hughes was activated off the physically unable to perform list Aug. 26. He was limited in practice until being a full participant last Friday for the first time.
“He’s been going full through practice,” said Vikings coach Mike Zimmer. “We just have to get the OK from the doctors and we’ll see where that goes.”
Hughes said he will wear a knee brace in his first game back. He doesn’t anticipate that will be an issue.
“It doesn’t limit me,’’ Hughes said. “I still feel I can move pretty well. I’ve been playing good on receivers, staying on top. I still have my speed from before I got hurt. I don’t think it’s really a factor.’’
Daniel Carlson left the Vikings last September after missing three straight field goals. He’ll return to Minnesota on Sunday having made 17 in a row.
Carlson began last season as the Vikings’ kicker after being a fifth-round pick out of Auburn. He was waived after two games, having gone 0 for 3 in field-goal attempts at Green Bay in his second one.
Carlson eventually signed with Oakland. He has made his first two field goals this season after closing last year by hitting 15 in a row.
“I’m glad he’s done well,’’ Zimmer said. “I hope he doesn’t do well this week, but I wish him success in the future. He’s a good kid. He’s an athletic, very talented kid.’’
As for Carlson having developed as a kicker elsewhere, Zimmer said, “Sometimes that’s just the way it goes.’’
Since joining the Raiders, Carlson is 18 of 19 on field-goal attempts and has made all 22 of his extra-point attempts.
“Obviously, he’s been really good for us,’’ said Raiders coach Jon Gruden. “He’s been kicking the ball off, getting some touchbacks now. He’s been an iceman for us. … Just really been a huge addition to our team. Sometimes a change of scenery just works out. We’re excited to have him.”
•Zimmer and Raiders defensive coordinator Paul Guenther both were Cincinnati assistants from 2008-13. After Zimmer left as defensive coordinator to become Minnesota’s coach, Guenther was the Bengals’ coordinator from 2014-17. “He’s a good guy, a good friend,’’ Zimmer said. “But I’m trying to beat him.’’ Minnesota receiver Stefon Diggs said Oakland’s defensive scheme is “kind of like our defense.’’
•Running back Dalvin Cook leads the NFL with 265 yards rushing, but he’s not concerned about that. He said his goals revolve around winning games. “That’s what I’m all about,’’ he said. The Vikings have won three rushing championships in their history, all courtesy of Adrian Peterson (2008, 2012 and 2015).
•After playing the first two games last season, defensive end Everson Griffen missed five games with a mental health issue. Zimmer said he’s come along “100 percent” since leaving the team last September. “He’s been a good leader, a very, very hard worker,’’ Zimmer said. “Very much a team-oriented player.’’