Vikings RB Bids Minnesota Farewell, Signs With Panthers: Report

Ameer Abdullah

Courtesy of Vikings Vikings running back Ameer Abdullah bid the franchise farewell after deciding to sign with the Carolina Panthers.

Minnesota Vikings running back and reliable return man Ameer Abdullah has been a bubble player all season.

It was believed Abdullah, a three-year veteran with the team, would sign to the Vikings practice squad after the team activated fourth-round rookie Kene Nwangwu to the 53-man roster on Tuesday.

However, Abdullah found more opportunities elsewhere. He is expected to sign with the Carolina Panthers after working out with the team earlier this week, per NFL Network‘s Ian Rapoport.

Abdullah posted a farewell on Instagram that confirms his move to Carolina before the Panthers have made the signing official.

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‘You Guys Truly Will Always Have a Place in My Heart’

On Saturday, Abdullah posted on Instagram a farewell message to Minnesota after three seasons with the team.

“Minnesota! Minneapolis! Vikings! Thank you for an amazing experience over the last 3 years, you guys truly will always have a place in my heart. But this show must go on, excited and thankful to continue my journey as a Carolina Panther! #keeppounding 💙💙💙,” Abdullah wrote.

Several Vikings teammates commented on the post, including Alexander Mattison, Justin Jefferson and Kellen Mond.

A Vikings Social Justice Committee member, Abdullah was a leader both in and outside the locker room. He was active in the team’s community engagement efforts.

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Abdullah Carved a Role in Minnesota

When the Vikings claimed Abdullah off waivers in 2018, the team likely didn’t expect him to last as long as he did.

Abdullah’s special teams versatility made him indispensable for the Vikings. He played 45 games in Minnesota, totaling 65 touches for 350 yards and three touchdowns. He returned 45 kickoffs for nearly 25 yards per return.

Abdullah notched his longest kick return with the Vikings on a pivotal 45-yard return early against the Panthers last week. It likely garnered some interest from Carolina, which invited him in for a workout the day after he was released.

The Panthers placed Christian McCaffrey on the injured reserve list and likely have more playing opportunities for Abdullah.

Abdullah was waived and signed to and from the practice squad three times this season, which left plenty of optimism that he would return to Minnesota.

Instead, the Vikings appear confident in giving Nwangwu full reign as a kickoff return man opposite of fellow fourth-round rookie Ihmir Smith-Marsette.

Nwangwu is one of the fastest players in the NFL and is Iowa State’s all-time leading kick returner, averaging 26.8 yards per runback in his college career.

Nwangwu suffered a knee injury in the Vikings’ first preseason game and was on injured reserve to start the season. He could also contend for the starting punt returner job, currently held by veteran wide receiver Dede Westbrook.

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