White House invitation trumps practice

  • Article by: JUDD ZULGAD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 9, 2011 - 10:49 PM

MANKATO - Vikings safety Husain Abdullah will miss practice Wednesday, but coach Leslie Frazier isn't mad about it.

Abdullah and his brother Hamza, an Arizona Cardinals safety, will attend President Obama's Iftar dinner that celebrates the Islamic holy month of Ramadan at the White House on Wednesday night.

"For this occasion, no," it wasn't a tough choice, Frazier said. "A chance to meet the president, visit the White House. I told him I hope in February or next May or whenever it is we'll be going as a team. We're excited for him. I think it's a tremendous opportunity and a great honor."

Abdullah said he found out Friday but doesn't know how he got the invite.

Ramadan started Aug. 1 and ends Aug. 29. During that period, Abdullah does not eat or drink between sunup and sundown. The Vikings have helped him in recent years with his nutrition and with remaining hydrated.

"It's the same plan as last year -- hydrate, [at] 2 a.m. get the protein shake, kind of a meal-replacement thing, and I'll eat some food if I've got it, and just have dinner and breakfast," Abdullah said. He also said the new CBA rules that allow only one practice a day and the cooler conditions in Mankato during camp have been a big help.

Injury report

Tight end Visanthe Shiancoe and safety Tyrell Johnson did not practice Tuesday, but Frazier described both players' hamstring injuries as mild. "They should be fine," he said.

Frazier said Johnson could return to practice Wednesday but Shiancoe would sit out a bit longer. Frazier sounded as if he was leaning toward holding out Shiancoe from the preseason opener Saturday at Tennessee.

Right guard Anthony Herrera (ACL) remains on the physically-unable-to-perform list, and Frazier expects a decision to be made on his status after the third preseason game. If Herrera is moved to the reserve/PUP list, that would mean he would have to sit out the first six weeks of the regular season.

Wide receiver Percy Harvin (ribs) and left guard Steve Hutchinson (shoulder) returned to practice Tuesday.

Decisions, decisions

Frazier and the coaching staff were planning to meet Tuesday night to discuss how they will approach Saturday's game at Tennessee as far as doling out playing time. "We've got a set number of plays that we want to get the starters," Frazier said. "We'll talk a little bit more about it tonight and settle on it and let them know tomorrow."

Although the offensive starters need work, Frazier will not leave those players on the field for an extended period Saturday.

"I don't think so," he said. "We want to get Donovan [McNabb] and some of the guys some rest, but at the same time we've got three games after this one. We want to get the timing down, but I think we have enough to get the legs under them a little bit, but we don't have to play a half or play two quarters or play a quarter and a half right now. We've got time."

Etc.

• Cornerback Marcell Gipson, who left the team last week after the death of his grandmother, was granted his request to be released. "He has some things going on with his personal life, losing a [grandparent]," Frazier said. "He felt like he needed to stay home, get a job and take care of his family. I respect that." Frazier said Gipson could be brought back, if he decides he wants to play again.

• Linebacker Ben Leber is expected to sign a $1.25 million, one-year deal the Rams, according to ESPN. Leber was with the Vikings from 2006 to 2010.

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