The Vikings activated rookie running back Kene Nwangwu from injured reserve on Tuesday, the team announced. To make room on the 53-man roster, veteran RB Ameer Abdullah was released.
Nwangwu, one of Minnesota's fourth-round picks this year, turned heads in the preseason with his electrifying speed, short-area quickness, and acceleration with the ball in his hands. The Iowa State product seemed likely to contribute one way or another right away, but then hyperextended his knee on the opening kickoff of the preseason.
That injury caused Nwangwu to miss the remainder of the preseason and the first six games of the regular season. He was designated to return from IR on September 29th, which allowed him to begin practicing again and ramping up for a return to the field. The Vikings had a 21-day window to activate him that ended on Wednesday, so they ended up using nearly that entire window to preserve a roster spot while waiting for Nwangwu to get to 100 percent.
It'll be interesting to see what Nwangwu's role looks like for the final 11 games of the season, starting on Halloween against the Cowboys. The Vikings' kick returner will be either him or fellow rookie Ihmir Smith-Marsette. Nwangwu could also potentially see a handful of snaps on offense, with the potential for a larger role should Dalvin Cook or Alexander Mattison miss any games down the stretch. Abdullah had 49 offensive snaps and ten touches through six games, due in large part to Cook missing two of those games.
Abdullah always seems to stick around with the Vikings, so perhaps he will be signed to the practice squad again.
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