|Husain Abdullah of the Minnesota Vikings:Jim Mone/Associated Press|
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — For Minnesota Vikings defensive back Husain Abdullah, the most important clock inside the Metrodome was not the one keeping time for his team’s recent preseason game with the Seattle Seahawks. Another, showing the time of day, held greater significance for him and for the Vikings’ training staff.
Abdullah, a third-year safety, is a Muslim who keeps the traditional fast during the holy month of Ramadan; he cannot eat or drink from sunup to sundown. So while his teammates slugged down water and sports drinks on the sideline during the first quarter, Abdullah had to abstain until sunset, at 7:57 p.m. Abdullah went by the clock because the game was indoors.
“So I told them, as soon as it’s 8 o’clock, remind me so I can pour some down,” Abdullah said. “We did a kickoff, had a long drive on defense, and then they scored a field goal. On the sideline they said: ‘It’s 8 o’clock. Start pounding.’ ”
The physical demands of an N.F.L. training camp, which entail two practices on some days, can tax even the best-hydrated and well-fed players. Yet Abdullah, 25, and his brother Hamza, a 27-year-old defensive back for the Arizona Cardinals, are committed to fasting throughout Ramadan, which ends at sundown Thursday — the night the Vikings open the season in New Orleans.
An N.F.L. spokesman was not aware of any other Muslim players who were fasting.
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