Vikings' Husain Abdullah Plans for Ramadan Fast During Training Camp
But starting on Wednesday, he'll skip the water, and won't join his teammates for the lunch break between morning and afternoon practices, either. Abdullah, a Muslim, will refrain from all food and drink from sunrise to sunset during the holy month of Ramadan, which begins on Wednesday and ends on September 9, the day the Vikings begin the regular season against the New Orleans Saints.
"I've been doing it since I was 7," Abdullah told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. "To a Muslim, Ramadan is what we wait for every year. The holy month of Ramadan, we love it."
But the Vikings are concerned about whether Abdullah can function at a high level on the field if he can't replenish himself. Vikings coach Brad Childress said that last season, Abdullah's performance declined during Ramadan.
"He didn't seem like he had enough spunk," Childress said. "His energy was sapped."
This year, however, Abdullah has worked with the team's nutritionist to develop a plan for his diet during Ramadan, which will include waking up at 2 a.m. each night for just long enough to drink a protein shake, as well as having a big breakfast before sunrise and a big dinner at sunset.
Abdullah's older brother, Hamza, plays for the Arizona Cardinals and has a similar plan for Ramadan. Husain said he and his brother grew up watching Houston Rockets center Hakeem Olajuwon refrain from drinking water when he had day games that fell during Ramadan.
"They talked about it during games, and we would get so excited," Abdullah said. "My mom would be like, 'If he can do it while he's playing, you guys can do it.' We'll be excited to do it."