Since signing with the Vikings midway through the 2018 season, Ameer Abdullah has played 23 games for Minnesota.
Abdullah has served primarily as the team's kick returner while also contributing on offense as part of a deep running back group.
Recently, Mark Inabinett of AL.com rolled out an NFL All-Decade Team for players with Alabama roots, and Abdullah (who grew up in Homewood, Alabama) was tabbed as the All-Decade kick returner. Inabinett wrote:
Abdullah had 1,946 kickoff-return yards, the most in the decade for a player with Alabama football roots, as he averaged 27.03 yards per kickoff return.
In 2019, Abdullah returned 13 kickoffs for 325 yards, averaging 25 yards per return.
He added an additional six kickoff returns during Minnesota's pair of playoff games against the Saints and 49ers. His 25.2 yards per return in the postseason ranked second in the NFL behind New Orleans' Deonte Harris.
PFF ranks teams' QB situations by need
Before free agency and the NFL Draft come around, analytics site Pro Football Focus took a look at every team's current quarterback situation and ranked them according to need.
PFF's Anthony Treash ranked Minnesota second-to-last in the category labeled "Medium: Could use one if an option presents itself but doesn't need to be actively looking for a starter."
Ranked ahead of the Vikings (meaning a higher need) in the category were the Eagles, Raiders, Jaguars, Titans and Rams. Treash wrote the following of Minnesota:
Kirk Cousins had himself a career year in 2019, producing an 85.4 passing grade that was the fifth best in the NFL. Minnesota's then-offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski, who is now the head coach of the Cleveland Browns, was one of the NFL's best play-callers in PFF's coaching metric and utilized play-action passing to extract the best of Cousins, who had the second highest passing grade on those plays. Assuming they run the same offense with Gary Kubiak now calling the offensive shots, there shouldn't be much reason to worry about Cousins for the time being.
The Cowboys were ranked beneath the Vikings in the Medium category. Four teams – Chiefs, Ravens, Texans and Seahawks – were placed in the Low category by need.
Interestingly, all three of the Vikings NFC North rivals were evaluated by Treash to be in the High category, meaning "their current starter is on the decline or has yet to prove himself, no time for caution."
More flex scheduling options down the road?
Fischer and Ourand wrote that the NFL "has asked teams for feedback on the prospect of radically expanding flex scheduling, including the possibility of moving games from Sunday to Monday in midseason."
According to SBJ, the NFL has not yet proposed a specific plan but simply fielded feedback.
Any flex scheduling changes would not take effect until new media rights deals kick in, starting with the 2023 season. Even though the NFL has not started formal negotiations with any networks, ESPN has let it be known that it wants to incorporate flexible scheduling as part of a new Monday Night Football deal.
ESPN wants to be able to flex out of late-season games that carry no postseason implications, like the Dec. 24, 2018, matchup between the 6-8 Denver Broncos and the 3-11 Oakland Raiders, or the Week 10 matchup earlier that season between the 1-7 New York Giants and the 2-7 San Francisco 49ers.