Brothers Husain Abdullah, a safety for the Vikings and Hamza Abdullah, a cornerback for the Cardinals, played together at Pomona (Calif.) High School and at Washington State. Sunday will be the first time, however, that they have been on opposite sidelines and both are looking forward to the opportunity.
"We've played together, but never against each other," Abdullah said. "It's going to be fun. He's been active the last week or two, so hopefully we can meet up on special teams and butt heads. That would be fun."
Hamza is two years older than Husain, and Husain was often on the receiving end of childhood dust-ups. That, he said, has changed and he's looking for a little belated revenge against Big Bro.
"He beat me up quite a bit when we were kids, because he was a lot bigger than me," Abdullah said. "But we've both grown up and I'm looking for a little bit of give-back on Sunday."
The first meeting as opponents has been a long time coming. Both thought it would happen last year, but fate intervened, as Hamza was released by the Browns days before their scheduled meeting in the regular-season opener – putting off the sibling rivalry until Sunday.
"We thought we were going to have a chance last year," Abdullah said. "He was with Cleveland during the preseason and we played them in the regular season opener, but he was one of the last cuts they made. This year, we're both on the rosters of the Vikings and Cardinals and hopefully we will get the chance to meet out on the field Sunday. It will be different, but we're both looking forward to."
It's going to be a family affair not just on the field, but in the stands as well, as the proud parents of both of the Abdullah boys will be in attendance. In fact, they're already in town gearing up for Sunday's matchup.
"My parents flew in (Tuesday)," Abdullah said. "They're so excited about the prospect of both of us playing in the same game in the NFL. It's a dream our whole family has had. I kind of wanted my younger brother and sister to come too, but there were conflicts with work and school. But my parents are going to be here for the show and I hope to give them something to be happy about."
Seeing as he's putting up his parents for the week and the game is being played on his home turf, it would be understandable if his parents cheered for Husain, who is expected to see much more playing time than Hamza, who has been primarily used on special teams this season. But Husain said that his parents will try their best to ride the fence on who to cheer for most likely cheering for whichever son makes a play at a specific time in the game.
"They aren't going to pick sides," Abdullah said. "Either way, one of their sons will win on Sunday. I'm sure we'll laugh about it afterward. If they want to cheer for Hamza, they can. If they want to cheer for me, they can. It will be tough on them, but a proud moment at the same time."
Since both brothers play defensive back, they won't be on the field at the same time during most of the game, but have the strong potential of meeting up on special teams. When asked if he would take some pleasure in lighting up his older brother with a big hit on special teams, an ear-to-ear grin hit Abdullah's face at the mere thought of it.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.