When the Minnesota Vikings released running back Ameer Abdullah. . .again. . .in order to make room on the 53-man roster for rookie Kene Nwangwu, it certainly looked like a case of a younger player being in line to replace a veteran. Now, as he prepares to take part in his first NFL game, he’s going to be directly assuming one of Abdullah’s former duties.
Ryan Ficken says the plan is for Kene Nwangwu to handle kickoff return duties pic.twitter.com/omJfesR32K— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) October 28, 2021
During a press conference on Thursday, Vikings’ special teams coordinator Ryan Ficken declared that Nwangwu would, indeed, assume kick return duties for the Vikings, which was one of the things that Abdullah was handling in relief of Ihmir Smith-Marsette. Smith-Marsette took over the job when Nwangwu was injured returning the opening kickoff of the preseason opener against Denver.
Nwangwu was a very good kick returner in college at Iowa State, averaging nearly 30 yards a return in his final season with the Cyclones. Much like the pros, you don’t see a lot of kick returns in college football anymore, but Nwangwu was making the most of his opportunities when he got them.
It remains to be seen whether or not Nwangwu will also assume Abdullah’s role in the offense. Abdullah wasn’t playing a lot of snaps over the course of each game, but Nwangwu’s speed could offer an interesting change of pace for the Vikings when Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison need a breather.
I’m quite excited to see Nwangwu get his opportunity to make some plays for the Vikings. Here’s hoping that he’s able to stay on the field going forward and make a significant impact for our favorite football team.