On the last day of Minnesota Vikings mini camp, the player's parking lot featured fishing boats hitched up and ready to take off—signaling the anticipation that is the month and a half journey ahead without practice.
Vikings rookie Mike Hughes spent the day fishing for quarterback blind spots.
The 5-foot-10 jack-of-all-trades defensive back played in the nickel for multiple series against Minnesota's backup quarterbacks Trevor Siemian, Kyle Sloter, and Peter Pujals during the organized team scrimmage, with Mackenzie Alexander heading up the same position against the opposing first-team offense.
Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said on the Paul Allen 9-to-Noon Show Wednesday that Hughes is learning as fast as anyone who's come in at that caliber at that position that he's seen in his coaching career.
Zimmer also said a lot of that learning curve has to do with the zone-in-man concepts that Hughes needs to familiarize himself with to carve out a distinguished role early on in Zimmer's defense.
Halfway through the scrimmage, Hughes began flashing his talent on a leaping batdown play near the Vikings defensive sideline, where Sloter was trying to fade it to wide receiver Cayleb Jones. Hughes—five inches shorter than King—sprung into the air and hulked the ball to the ground to render the pass incomplete.
"I saw the receivers in a stacked lineup and was able to diagnose where the progressions were going," Hughes said after practice.
On that same drive, Sloter's pass intended for tight end Josiah Price was tipped by another Viking defender near the slot, where Hughes had to stopped on a dime to await its arrival and create an interception.
He went streaking down the field for what easily could have been a turnover-for-score play if not for the whistles that indicated the play was dead (or mercy).
Later in the scrimmage—during a series with Peter Pujals at quarterback—Hughes could be found shadowing tight end Blake Bell or on the outside lined up with wide receiver Korey Robertson. That play on the outside was intended for Robertson on a comeback route near the sideline which Hughes managed to cover well enough to rush the throw.
"I'm just trying to go out there and do whatever's asked of me," Hughes said after practice.
In an already praiseworthy mini camp for Hughes, Thursday was a fitting end to his and the team's final joint workouts of the summer until training camp begins in late July.
Joe Perovich is an on-air announcer and writer at KFAN, and can be reached on Twitter (@JoePerovich) or by email (JoePerovich@iheartmedia.com)