One of the fastest players in the NFL: joining a Viking team near you

Redshirt junior running back Kene Nwangwu poses for a photo during Iowa State Football Media Day Thursday, August 1, 2019 in Ames. 0801 Isufball 54 Jpg

The Minnesota Vikings rocked their waiting room on Wednesday, releasing veteran half-back Ameer Abdullah, formerly a 2sd Round pick among the Detroit Lions in the 2015 NFL Draft.

He was an obvious candidate to return to the Vikings’ training squad – Minnesota frequently release players, to add them right away – but the finality of the deal was evident when the Carolina Panthers secured the services of ‘Abdullah.

And that means Abdullah is gone. All told, the now Panther spent the equivalent of three full seasons with the Vikings, mostly as RB3. Now he’ll take a step with Carolina as full-back Christian McCaffrey continues to recover from an injury.

The Vikings weren’t disappointed with Abdullah – they just needed to make room for someone else. And that man is Kene Nwangwu, a demonic speed recruit from Iowa State.

June 9, 2021; Minnesota Vikings running back Kene Nwangwu (26) catches a pass in the OTA drills at the TCO Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Nwangwu missed the first six games of 2021 with a hypertensive left knee. Minnesota has placed him in the injured reserve, but now is the time to take a look at the young rusher.

Minnesota does need tons of production from another running back. Behind perhaps the Cleveland Browns with Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, the Vikings employ the best one-two in the NFL with Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison. Still, Nwangwu adds extra momentum – speed, speed, and more speed.

Assuming the Vikings actually use Nwangwu for play, Head Coach Mike Zimmer now puts away a weapon faster than DK Metcalf, Ja’Marr Chase, and Mecole Hardman. Nwangwu is basically as fast as 2020 rookie Henry Ruggs III, who was won over in the spring of 2020 for his speed.

The interesting aspect will be how Minnesota uses the 23-year-old. Notoriously, Vikings rookies are launching into shots on the pitch, as evidenced last year Justin Jefferson who needed three games to hit the stride or Wyatt Davis this year, a rookie with high potential who doesn’t play. really at all.

But if Minnesota wants to get perverse on offense, they should; some sections are lifeless for six weeks – Nwangwu is the specimen to mine for glare. Speed ​​kills. Nwangwu is a speed trader. Unless he’s fumbling around like crazy or unprepared, in general, for the bright lights of the NFL, there’s no reason to let Nwangwu sit idly by on the bench.

The late Abdullah has been used in special teams for kicking returns in the first six games of this season. Nwangwu could get his early action showcasing the speed of special teams – a potentially welcome site as the Vikings have not known any special teams home hitters since Cordarrelle Patterson left the team in 2017.

Nwangwu’s speed was measured at 4.29 seconds for a 40-meter sprint on his Pro Day in March. Yes Madden ratings are important to you, he’s one of the fastest players in this arena, surprising some players with a “who the hell is the guy?” reaction. Anthony Schwartz, a rookie receiver for the Browns, was considered the fastest player in the 2021 NFL draft, scoring a 4.26-40-yard dash. Nwangwu is 0.03 seconds behind his pace. He’s a quick guy.

The optimistic view of Nwangwu’s arrival is Abdullah’s exodus. Often Minnesota clings to the guys love like Marcus Sherels in the past – or Dakota Dozier in the present. Removing Abdullah from the roster implies that the coaching staff are very keen to implement certain aspects of Nwangwu in special teams and possibly in attack. One final reminder: Nwangwu is not a young 5’7 “athlete with a 160-pound frame – he is 6’1” and 210 pounds. There is also a little beef. That’s the stature of DeAndre Hopkins.

Bring speed.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. Its Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Guilty pleasures listed: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, “The Sopranos” and The Doors (the band).

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