If active, Vikings’ new back Ameer Abdullah will return kickoffs against Bears

EAGAN, Minn. -- A full palette of emotions rushed over Ameer Abdullah after being waived by the Detroit Lions last week. "It was a shock," Abdullah said. "That's the team that drafted me. That's where I kind of made home. It was tough." Still, th...

Detroit Lions running back Ameer Abdullah (21) runs in the third quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis on Oct. 1, 2017. Brad Rempel / USA TODAY Sports

EAGAN, Minn. -- A full palette of emotions rushed over Ameer Abdullah after being waived by the Detroit Lions last week.

“It was a shock,” Abdullah said. “That’s the team that drafted me. That’s where I kind of made home. It was tough.”

Still, the 25-year-old Abdullah didn’t have to wait long to find a new home, as the Vikings claimed him off waivers a day later. Since then, he’s been rushing to get up to speed before traveling to Solider Field for Sunday’s prime time game against the Chicago Bears.

“As soon as I got over the shock, it was about internalizing everything that’s going on” Abdullah said. “It’s adapt or die. This is my evolution. I’m definitely evolving in my maturity as a player.”

While he’s still learning some of the intricacies of offensive coordinator John DeFilippo’s playbook, Abdullah figures to contribute immediately on special teams, specifically returning kickoffs.


“We have to wait and see if he’s going to be active or not,” special teams coordinator Mike Priefer said. “Obviously, that’s up to Coach (Mike) Zimmer and what he wants to do with the roster. If we had his services available, I would like to use him as a kickoff returner. He fits right into what we want at that position.”

In parts of three NFL seasons, Abdullah is averaging 27.8 yards per kickoff return. He did most of his damage during his rookie season out of Nebraska, finishing second in the league with a 29.1-yard average for the Lions.

“He was our No. 1 returner we had ranked coming out,” Priefer said. “He’s got what I like to call running back vision. He’s a running back that has that type of vision as a returner, and not every returner has that.”

Priefer also lauded Abdullah’s ability to find the clear seam, something easier said than done at the next level.

“He has the ability to hit those seams before they close up,” Priefer said. “He brings a lot to the table at that position.”

That might be the biggest reason the Vikings claimed Abdullah.

“I talked to (assistant general manager) George Paton about it and they obviously knew how I felt,” Priefer said. “He went back and looked at my rankings from when he was coming out of Nebraska and, obviously, that was a big sell.”

If active, Abdullah will see the field in other special teams scenarios, as well.


“You don’t take an athlete like that and have him stand next to me on the sideline,” Priefer said. “You want him out there as much as possible.”

Cook at full strength Dalvin Cook looked at the Vikings Nov. 4 game against the Lions as a test. After a lingering hamstring injury forced him to miss much of the season’s first half, Cook wanted to prove to himself as much as anyone that he was healthy.

“With the hamstring, it’s a mind thing,” he said. “You’ve got to get over that hump.”

Cook finished with 89 yards on 10 carries, most of it gained on a 70-yard burst up the left sideline.

Now that he’s back at full strength, Cook said he doesn’t have a problem sharing the load with Latavius Murray, who has been the primary running back in his absence.

“Whatever my role is and however many touches I get, I’m going to make them count,” Cook said. “And I’m trying to go score with every single one of them.”

Sloppy field conditions Inside the locker room at TCO Performance Center, most players have a note on their stall reminding them that they might have to play with longer-studded cleats for Sunday night’s game against the Bears.

Traditionally, the playing surface at Soldier Field can get sloppy during November and December, and some Vikings players are opting to practice with the longer-studded cleats.


“You’ve just got to feel which one works,” safety Harrison Smith said. “Sometimes the light corner guys can get away with wearing the lower studs. Most of the other guys have to wear the higher studs.”

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