Earlier this offseason, the Kansas City Chiefs signed Husain Abdullah as a free agent safety away from the Minnesota Vikings. It was an interesting addition given that Abdullah had climbed the unlikely ladder from undrafted free agent to starter for the Vikes, yet Abdullah also sat out all of last season to take a pilgrimage to Mecca. Thus Abdullah hasn't played any meaningful football since Romeo Crennel was installed as the Chiefs interim head coach.
Abdullah has starting experience at both safety positions with the Vikes, and has amassed 24 starts in 54 games in the NFL. He will be 28-years-old when the season begins, and comes with a history of concussions, so there's a lot of questions surrounding the talented safety.
In order to get some more perspective on Abdullah, we hit up Christopher Gates of Daily Norseman, the great Vikings blog within the SB Nation family, about some perspective. Gates gave us plenty to think about with a recent Q&A. Check it out:
Can you tell us a bit more about the injury to Abdullah and consequent rehab?
Abdullah's main injury concerns center around concussions. Between the 2010 and 2011 seasons, he suffered four of them, and the final one caused him to miss the last four games of the 2011 season. He didn't really have much of an injury history prior to that, to my knowledge. As we've all heard, when you suffer multiple concussions, it becomes easier for you to suffer more, so that's something that the Chiefs will have to be aware of going forward.
Why did the Vikes not re-sign him?
The Vikings did actually offer him a deal prior to his becoming a free agent after the 2011 season, but he turned it down. After that, he said that he and his brother Hamza (formerly of the Arizona Cardinals) were going to be taking a year away from the National Football League to take a religious pilgrimage to Mecca, in accordance with their Muslim beliefs, and fulfill other religious obligations. The Vikings were in on discussions to bring him back for this coming season, as he made it clear he was ready to come back to the National Football League, but he ultimately wound up signing with Kansas City.
What are Abdullah's greatest strengths?
Abdullah is a very solid tackler, and is much more of a strong safety type than a free safety. He's always been willing to come up and assist in run support, and it's very rare that someone gets away from him after he's gotten a hold of them. He's also always been a very high character guy, and never had any reported issues during the time he was in Minnesota.
What is his primary weakness?
He's not necessarily a great coverage safety. He had four interceptions in his Vikings career, but wasn't particularly good in coverage, running with tight ends and things of that nature. He'd be much more comfortable in more of a zone scheme, and even better as a safety that's allowed to play closer to the line of scrimmage.
Any ideas on expectations Chiefs fans should have regarding this signing? A good bet to start alongside Eric Berry or more of a role player?
Again, the big thing with Abdullah is going to be the concussion issue. If he's past that, there's a very good chance that he could be the Chiefs' starter at strong safety this season. Kansas City could definitely have done worse at the safety position. If the Chiefs draft a safety early on, he could have a fight on his hands for that starting role, but as things stand now I would think he'd have a very good chance to be the Chiefs' Week 1 starter.
We appreciate Christopher taking time out to answer our questions. In addition, make sure to check out a roundtable discussion on Abdullah's future over at Daily Norseman for even more insight.