Ameer Abdullah bids farewell to Vikings after signing with Panthers
Minnesota Vikings running back and reliable return man Ameer Abdullah has been a bubble player all season.
Abdullah, a three-year veteran with the team, was believed to sign to the Vikings’ training squad after the team activated fourth-round rookie Kene Nwangwu in the 53-man roster on Tuesday.
However, Abdullah found more opportunities elsewhere. He is expected to sign with the Carolina Panthers after working with the team earlier this week, per NFL NetworkIt’s Ian Rapoport.
Abdullah posted a farewell on Instagram confirming his move to Carolina before the Panthers formalized the signing.
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“You will really always have a place in my heart”
On Saturday, Abdullah posted a farewell message to Minnesota on Instagram after three seasons with the team.
“Minnesota! Minneapolis! Vikings! Thank you for this amazing experience over the past 3 years you will truly always have a place in my heart. But this show must go on, excited and grateful to continue my journey as Carolina Panther! #Continue 💙💙💙 ”, wrote Abdallah.
Several Vikings teammates commented on the post, including Alexander Mattison, Justin Jefferson and Kellen Mond.
A member of the Viking Social Justice Committee, Abdullah was a leader both inside and outside the locker room. He was actively involved in the team’s community engagement efforts.
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Abdullah has carved out a role in Minnesota
When the Vikings claimed Abdullah on waivers in 2018, the team probably didn’t expect him to last as long as he did.
Abdullah’s versatility in special teams made him indispensable for the Vikings. He played 45 games in Minnesota, totaling 65 touches for 350 yards and three touchdowns. He returned 45 kickoffs for almost 25 yards per return.
Abdullah scored his longest kicking return with the Vikings on a 45-yard pivot early return against the Panthers last week. This probably sparked some interest from Carolina, who invited him to train the day after his release.
The Panthers have placed Christian McCaffrey on the injured reserve list and probably have more chances to play for Abdullah.
Abdullah was lifted and signed for the practice squad three times this season, leaving a lot of optimism about his return to Minnesota.
Instead, the Vikings seem confident to give Nwangwu full reign as the kickoff return man opposite fourth-round rookie Ihmir Smith-Marsette.
Nwangwu is one of the fastest players in the NFL and is Iowa State’s all-time best kicking returner, averaging 26.8 yards per return during his college career.
Nwangwu injured his knee in the Vikings’ first preseason game and was in the injured reserve to start the season. He could also claim the starting punt return position, currently held by veteran wide receiver Dede Westbrook.
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