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Kene Nwangwu placed on injured reserve

He’ll miss at least the first four games

New England Patriots v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images

On Thursday, the Minnesota Vikings made official the signings of running back Myles Gaskin and offensive lineman David Quessenberry. They cleared one spot on the roster by waiving wide receiver Jalen Reagor, and cleared another by making a move that most were probably anticipating.

The team has announced that running back and kick return specialist Kene Nwangwu has been placed on injured reserve. The move means that he will miss at least the first four games of the 2023 season.

Nwangwu was a fourth-round pick of the Vikings in the 2021 NFL Draft and has made his impact on special teams with three kickoff returns for touchdowns in his first two seasons. The league is, seemingly, doing everything it can to minimize the importance of the kickoff and the kickoff return, something that could, potentially, leave Nwangwu without a position.

Because he had started practicing during Training Camp before getting injured, Nwangwu was not eligible to go on the Physically Unable to Perform List. By putting him on the 53-man roster and waiting to put him on IR, the team now has the ability to designate him for return during the season. Had they put him on IR before the 53-man roster had been finalized, he would have been lost for the entire 2023 season.

We’re not totally sure who will be handling kickoff returns for the Vikings in Nwangwu’s absence. Gaskin has some experience in that category, as do a few other members of the roster, but nothing has been clarified yet.

Here’s hoping that Nwangwu will be ready to contribute later on in the year, despite the NFL’s insistence on minimizing him and players with his types of skills.