NFL Cougar Highlights: Week 16

WITH HIS TWO fellow Washington State defensive back alums of greater renown—Atlanta's Erik Coleman and Seattle's Marcus Trufant—experiencing less than stellar seasons, Minnesota's Husain Abdullah has quietly put together a breakout year for the Vikings.

While an early season injury led to the permanent benching of perennial starter Coleman and Trufant's 2010 campaign has been spotted with bouts of inconsistency, Abdullah has earned positive marks in his first run as a starting cover-man for the Vikings.

Abdullah has started all but one game for Minnesota this season, missing a mid-year contest due to a concussion. Through his 14 starts, the safety has tallied 66 tackles and 3 interceptions, his latest an athletic theft of a Michael Vick pass in the Vikings' 24-14 upset of Philadelphia on Tuesday night.

Jerome Harrison and Philadelphia hurt nothing but their pride in Tuesday night's loss to Minnesota, as the Eagles had their division and a playoff spot secured prior to the game.

Jacksonville's Tyron Brackenridge will need a Jag victory plus an Indianapolis loss to see post-season action. Trufant and St. Louis's Brandon Gibson will also have to wait until Sunday to learn their fortunes when the Rams (7-8) face the Seahawks (6-9) for the lowly NFC West title and its accompanying playoff berth.

No team has yet to be crowned with the NFC South title, but both Atlanta and New Orleans have clinched playoff spots, meaning the season will continue for the Falcons' Coleman and the Saints' Chris Ivory.

Here's how the NFL Cougs performed in week 16:

Hamza Abdullah, S, Arizona, 6th season: Declared inactive for the Cardinals' 27-26 defeat of Dallas.

Husain Abdullah, S, Minnesota, 3rd season: Intercepted a pass and recorded one tackle in the Vikings' 24-14 defeat of Philadelphia.

Tyron Brackenridge, CB, Jacksonville, 4th season: Assisted on one special teams tackle and returned a punt for one yard in the Jags' 20-17 overtime loss to Washington.

Erik Coleman, S, Atlanta, 7th season: The Spokane native assisted on one special teams tackle in the Falcons' 17-14 loss to New Orleans on Monday.

Jed Collins, FB, New Orleans, 2nd season : Did not play; assigned to the Saints' practice squad.

Eric Frampton, S, Minnesota, 4th season: Posted one special teams tackle in the Vikings' Tuesday night victory against Philadelphia.

Brandon Gibson, WR, St. Louis, 2nd season: The Puyallup native caught three passes for 69 yards and rushed the ball twice for another 15 in the Rams' 25-17 victory against San Francisco.

Jason Hanson, K, Detroit, 19th season: Did not play; out for the remainder of the season on injured reserve (knee).

Jerome Harrison, RB, Philadelphia, 5th season: No touches for the Ghost in the Eagles' 24-14 fall to Minnesota.

Jason Hill, WR, Jacksonville, 4th season :Made his first start for the Jags, catching four passes for 77 yards in their 20-17 overtime loss to Washington.

Chris Ivory, RB, New Orleans, rookie :Declared inactive with a lingering hamstring ailment for the Saints' 17-14 victory against Atlanta on Monday.

Rian Lindell, K, Buffalo, 11th season: Made his lone field goal attempt—from 26 yards—in the Bills' 34-3 fall to New England.

Karl Paymah, DB, Houston, 6th season :Did not play; out for the remainder of the season on injured reserve (wrist).

Ropati Pitoitua, DE, New York Jets, 2nd season: Did not play; out for the season on injured reserve (achilles).

Marcus Trufant, DB, Seattle, 8th season: The Tacoma native posted six tackles (5 solo) in the Seahawks' 38-15 loss to Tampa Bay.

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