Kansas City Chiefs rewarded for their patience with former Vikings' first-round pick Mike Hughes

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Cornerback Mike Hughes scored his first NFL touchdown during his first NFL game back in 2018 for the Minnesota Vikings. Even after moving this season to the Kansas City Chiefs and playing mostly a backup role, he never lost hope he would get at least one more.

"Eventually I knew I was going to get in there [again]," Hughes said. "There's no better way than getting a fumble recovery.

"It's always good to get a fast start like that. I think that was huge for our success today. We jumped on them quick and I think that fueled everybody."

Hughes started on Sunday in place of L'Jarius Sneed, who was in Louisiana with his family two days after his brother was killed. Hughes set the tone for the game right away, recovering a fumble from Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs on the first play from scrimmage and returning it 23 yards for a touchdown.

He later forced a pair of fumbles and finished as the team's leading tackler during a dominant 48-9 win over the Raiders.

"We practice that weekly in turnover drills in practice, just different ways to create turnovers," Hughes said. "Multiple situations like that came up today."

Hughes was the Vikings' first-round draft pick in 2018, the 30th overall pick. The Chiefs played him a lot early in the season but he lost a lot of his defensive playing time after allowing some big plays. He played just two snaps on defense in Week 8 against the New York Giants and one the following week against the Green Bay Packers.

The Chiefs needed him last week against the Denver Broncos, when they played without injured cornerback Rashad Fenton, and against the Raiders without Sneed.

"His time has been coming for a long time now," Tyrann Mathieu said. "It took some time. Right now, he's playing with that confidence, that swagger. He's one of those guys that every time he's around the ball, he's trying to punch it out or rip it out. That itself creates energy and our defense, that's what we feed off of."

The Chiefs were rewarded on Sunday with their patience in Hughes.

"You kind of favor those guys that work through the tough spots and get themselves playing well on the defense," coach Andy Reid said. "So he's a popular guy."