Husain Abdullah made the first start of his NFL career in the 2010 season opener and hasn't looked back since.
"It's a feel thing. It took two (games), but now I'm starting to get a little bit of a feel to it," he said. "I'm just trying to play football."
Abdullah was a surprise start in the first week of the season and has been producing since.
On Sunday against the Detroit Lions, he had one-third of the Vikings' pass breakups (they had six in all) and registered five tackles, which was fourth among Minnesota's defenders.
"(I'm) able to anticipate a little bit more, trying to slow everything down. When you first get out there, everything seems like it's moving a million miles per hour. After you study and start to get a feel for it a little bit, it slows down a little bit," Abdullah said.
"Just trying to get adjusted to the speed, knowing where everybody is around me. Studying film, knowing what they're going to do to me, what they're trying to do to me."
On Sunday, Abdullah's production started early and didn't stop. He made the tackle on Maurice Morris on the Lions' first play from scrimmage and did the same on the first play of Detroit's second series. He continued hitting throughout the first quarter, whether it was on a running back, tight end or big receiver Calvin Johnson.
In the second quarter, Abdullah was busy breaking up passes. Both of his passes defensed came in the second period.
"He's rangy. From sideline to sideline, he's making plays and it really showed up," defensive tackle Kevin Williams said of Abdullah. "You saw him start the game off with a great tackle on the sideline and he played well all day."
The Vikings entered training camp with incumbent Tyrell Johnson and second-year pro Jamarca Sanford battling for the starting spot opposite Madieu Williams. Instead, it was Abdullah, a rookie free agent from 2008, that got the call once the regular season rolled around.
"I think our safeties are doing a nice job. They're doing a nice job in a lot of areas," head coach Brad Childress said. "… (The Lions) tried to get over the top of us a couple of times deep. They put themselves in good positions. I think they're also doing a nice job with their independent movement, just to kind of try to get the quarterback some different looks all the way up until a couple seconds before the snap so he's not able to ID coverage.
"They're doing some things that you can see show up, whether it's being in alleys tackling people, but they're also doing some things that you don't realize, creating a little bit of confusion offensively."
Abdullah isn't ready to say he's completely confident in everything he's doing, but he's working toward that. He's continuing to look at film and gather tendencies on the opposition so he's at very least he feels prepared.
Eventually, he might be able to feel some job security, but that's not easily attained after only three starts.
"I'm just going out there playing. If we rotate or we have to make movement, I'm sure they're going to do whatever is in the best interest of the team, so I'm just out there trying to do my job," he said.
So far, he's been doing a good job, according to the reviews from coaches and teammates.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
Abdullah settling in at safety
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