Ameer Abdullah first arrived in Minnesota in November, but seven weeks on the Vikings was enough to convince both sides to a one-year commitment on Monday.
Abdullah, who turns 26 in June, signed a one-year deal, becoming the second Vikings free agent to return this offseason. He will provide depth in the backfield and compete at kickoff and punt returner, he said, after originally being claimed off waivers from the Detroit Lions. It was a quick free-agent decision, he said.
“A couple teams came out and expressed a lot of interest,” said Abdullah, a 2015 second-round pick out of Nebraska. “But Minnesota felt like home. Obviously, it’s really close to Nebraska geographically and emotionally it’s really similar to Nebraska.”
Abdullah appeared in seven games for the Vikings and played mostly special teams, where he averaged 25.8 yards on 10 kickoff returns. He wants to contribute on offense. Abdullah said he expects a full offseason in Minnesota will help, instead of his midseason crash course as a Week 10 waiver claim by the Vikings.
“Simply changing the words can really throw you off at times, especially game planning,” Abdullah said. “Just being with these new coaches, I think they really have an understanding of what I do well.”
Abdullah said he expects to return kicks and try his hand at punt returner. It could mark the end of the road for Vikings’ longtime punt returner Marcus Sherels, who has spent the past nine seasons in Minnesota and is currently a free agent. Last year’s starting kick returner, cornerback Mike Hughes, is recovering from a torn ACL.
He bolsters a backfield that lost running back Latavius Murray to a four-year contract with the Saints this month. Abdullah joins Dalvin Cook, Mike Boone and Roc Thomas, who was charged Feb. 28 with felony possession of marijuana in Dakota County.
“I come into this situation looking to compete, looking to be that guy,” Abdullah said. “Even with Dalvin here. That’s kind of the threshold we set last year with Latavius here. We all expect to be that guy.”
Sendejo joins the Eagles
Former Vikings safety Andrew Sendejo, 31, signed Monday with the Eagles. He was one of the Vikings’ longest-tenured players having been on the roster since November 2011. He had 61 starts at safety, including three playoff games, after working his way up as a leader on special teams.
Back and groin injuries limited him last season, when he started seven games before landing on injured reserve. The Vikings declined an option in his contract to save $5.5 million in salary cap space.
Compton signs with Jets
Former Vikings guard Tom Compton signed with the Jets on Monday, becoming the fifth free agent to depart Minnesota this offseason. Compton, the Rosemount native, started 14 games at left guard last season on a one-year deal.