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Vikings activate Kene Nwangwu from IR, release Ameer Abdullah

The fourth-rounder is back

NFL: Minnesota Vikings OTA Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The rookie class for the Minnesota Vikings hasn’t contributed a whole lot thus far in 2021, but that appears to be changing with left tackle Christian Darrisaw having finally taken his place in the starting lineup. On Tuesday, the team made a move that could help the rookie class to have an even bigger impact.

The Vikings have officially designated running back Kene Nwangwu from injured reserve. In order to make room for Nwangwu on the roster, the team has released Ameer Abdullah. Again.

Nwangwu was one of the Vikings’ fourth-round picks in this year’s NFL Draft out of Iowa State. He was slated to be the team’s kick returner this year, but wound up suffering a hyperextended knee while returning the opening kickoff of the Vikings’ preseason opener against Denver. The team waited until after the 53-man rosters were announced before placing him on IR, giving him the ability to return this season.

Minnesota officially designated Nwangwu for return from IR three weeks ago, opening up a 21-day window to allow him to practice and let the team decide whether or not to add him to the active roster or put him back on IR, ending his season. That window was set to close on Wednesday, so the team waited just about as long as they could before making the decision on him.

It remains to be seen whether or not the Vikings will bring Abdullah back to the practice squad again. He’s been “elevated” to the 53-man roster once from the practice squad this season, and a player is only allowed two such moves unless he is designated as a COVID-19 replacement.

We don’t know what the Vikings have in store for Nwangwu once he’s fully ready to go again, though it seems likely that with Abdullah gone he will likely resume his role as the Vikings’ primary kickoff returner and get some of Abdullah’s touches out of the backfield as well. Whatever the case may be, I’m looking forward to seeing him get on the field.