The Vikings are re-signing veteran running back Ameer Abdullah, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.
Mike Boone signing with the Broncos and Abdullah hitting free agency left the Vikings with just two running backs — Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison — on their roster. So bringing back the veteran for what will likely be a one-year, league minimum deal makes sense for depth purposes.
Abdullah's role on offense might be the least valuable thing he brings to the team. He has just 54 touches, 303 yards from scrimmage, and three touchdowns over the past two seasons in Minnesota. What's probably more important are his abilities on special teams and his role as a respected leader in the locker room.
In 2020, Abdullah's 250 special teams snaps ranked third on the team, trailing only rookies Josh Metellus and Dan Chisena. His 251 ST snaps in 2019 also ranked third behind Kris Boyd and Eric Wilson. Abdullah has been decent as a kick returner, with a 24.6 average on 38 career returns as a Viking, but he also plays on a variety of special teams coverage units.
Abdullah, who turns 28 this year, is also a prominent member of the Vikings' social justice committee, along with players like Eric Kendricks and Anthony Barr. Last fall, he spoke in front of the team about the killing of George Floyd after a scrimmage at U.S. Bank Stadium.
The Vikings claimed Abdullah off waivers from the Lions in November 2018. The former University of Nebraska star and second-round pick had over 700 yards from scrimmage for Detroit in both 2015 and 2017. Over the past two seasons, he and Boone essentially shared RB3 duties, with Boone seeing more snaps when Cook or Mattison were hurt but Abdullah getting on the field as a pass-catching option when everyone was healthy.
I would expect the Vikings to use a late-round draft pick or a priority UDFA pickup on a running back who can compete for the RB3 job this fall.
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