One of the problems for second-year guard Dru Samia, who was penalized four times during Sunday’s 27-26 loss in Seattle, is being a little too aggressive four starts into his NFL career.
Samia has started at right guard since Pat Elflein tore a ligament in his left thumb during the Vikings’ Week 1 loss to the Packers. While Samia, the 2019 fourth-round pick out of Oklahoma, has struggled to consistently stick to blocks, he hadn’t been penalized until Sunday night’s flurry of yellow flags.
“It was really him being in bad position most of the time, or being over-aggressive,” coach Mike Zimmer said Monday. “You’ve got to keep working on being in the right position and understanding that on double teams, you can go ahead and be as aggressive as you want, but if you’re reaching a guy or cutting a guy off, you’ve got to make sure [you know] where your hands are.”
Samia was flagged three times for holding, and the Vikings need to adjust better to how officials are calling offensive holding, according to Zimmer. Fewer of those calls are being made, and they can obviously use that to their advantage up to a certain point.
“Right now in the league, all of the offensive linemen are putting their hands outside the framework,” Zimmer said. “It’s just how well you get them back inside. Obviously, the offensive holding calls have been down throughout the course of the league, and so we’re just going to have to adjust. Once we do get [hands outside], we’ve got to get them back inside.”
‘The way it goes’
After seeing the replay of running back Alexander Mattison’s failed fourth-down run in the fourth quarter, which left a wide-open hole to his right, Zimmer wasn’t second-guessing his decision to go for it, or Mattison’s decision to run straight ahead.
“There was a good seam there” Zimmer said, but “we kind of ingrain in these guys, ‘Go get the first down.’”
“What happened was they kind of covered up the guards and tackles,” he added, “and the linebackers came and C.J. [Ham] met him in the hole and the defensive end kind of backed into him. Obviously, if [Mattison] would’ve bounced it outside, I’m sure he would’ve got it. There was a lot of space out there. Kyle [Rudolph] did a good job blocking his guy. But it’s kind of the way it goes.”
Zimmer was asked again Monday about rethinking his fourth-down decision, but his mind immediately went to the Seahawks’ go-ahead touchdown on fourth and goal.
Zimmer revealed safety Anthony Harris left his assignment to cover Seahawks receiver D.K. Metcalf, who caught the game-winning touchdown, as another defender, presumably rookie corner Cameron Dantzler, left Metcalf to cover the wrong receiver in a crossing pattern.
“You go back and you wonder about it all the time,” Zimmer said. “What could we have done better? Just going back through the process and thinking, you’ve got to have a guy on Russell Wilson because he’s possibly going to scramble in. Then we ended up actually having [Harris] come off another guy because there was a crossing route, and he should’ve stayed on his guy. Anthony Harris ended up picking up [Metcalf] and they made a great throw and great catch.”