73 Days Until Vikings Football: Is Dru Samia Ready to Start at Right Guard?
As we count down the days until the Vikings' opener against the Packers on September 13th, InsideTheVikings will be previewing every single player on the roster. The amount of days remaining corresponds with the jersey number of the player being examined on that day. Today is July 2nd, and there are 73 days until kickoff for the 2020 regular season. Thus, our next preview looks at the heavy favorite to be the Vikings' starting right guard in 2020.
Countdown to Vikings-Packers on September 13th: 73 Days
Player Preview: Dru Samia (No. 73, Guard)
- College: Oklahoma
- Drafted: 2019 fourth round (114th overall)
- NFL experience: One year
- Age: 22 (Turns 23 in August)
- Size: 6'5", 308
- 2019 PFF Grade: 47.8
When the Vikings traded up to land Oklahoma's Dru Samia in the fourth round of last year's draft, it was seen by many as a savvy move by Rick Spielman. The 2018 Big 12 Co-Offensive Lineman of the Year was a highly intriguing guard prospect who most draft analysts projected to come off the board on Day 2. Though he needed to improve his hand technique and become more consistent, Samia's zone-blocking ability, athleticism, and strength made him a high-upside pick for the Vikings in Gary Kubiak's offensive scheme.
All of that remains true one year later, even though he played just 31 snaps as a rookie. Samia essentially redshirted last year, working with Rick Dennison and the Vikings' coaching staff in practice but sitting on game days as Josh Kline started at right guard. The Vikings liked what they saw from him throughout the year and in Week 17, when Samia got a chance to play late in the first half and the entire second half against the Bears.
"I think we've got some young guys that we basically redshirted this year that I think are going to have opportunities to be good football players," Mike Zimmer said after the season. "I'm hoping [the offensive line] becomes even more of a strength for us next year."
The players Zimmer is referring to are Oli Udoh and Samia. There's a chance that those two 2019 Day 3 picks are the Vikings' starting guards in 2020, though Samia has a much clearer path due to the release of Kline this offseason. From everything we've heard, the right guard job is Samia's to lose. The Vikings are very high on his potential in Kubiak's offense, and the primary competition is made up of underachieving veterans (Dakota Dozier, Aviante Collins) and a seventh-round rookie (Kyle Hinton).
Samia is a native of Danville, CA, which is just 30 minutes east of Oakland. A four-star recruit, he chose Oklahoma over dozens of offers from west coast schools like UCLA and Cal. He started nine games for OU at right tackle as a true freshman in 2015, then became the Sooners' full-time starter at right guard for the next three years. In 2018, Samia was named to the All-Big 12 first team and was a second-team All-American after not allowing a sack on over 400 pass-blocking snaps.
While at Oklahoma, Samia became known for his toughness. He's an ultra-competitive player who is always looking for someone to block and isn't afraid to play through the whistle. That type of mentality goes a long way on the interior of the offensive line. Samia also demonstrated plenty of athleticism as a zone blocker and the power – he did 28 reps on the bench press at the 2019 combine – to anchor against defensive tackles on passing downs.
After a solid preseason performance, Samia got his first NFL regular season action out of the way by playing six series in the meaningless finale against Chicago. He had some good moments and some bad ones, but overall I thought his tape looked better than the 47.8 grade PFF gave him. Samia showed off his athleticism, held up in pass protection for the most part, and continued to demonstrate his 'nastiness' by always looking for someone to hit. There were definitely some things he needs to clean up, but the Vikings reportedly liked what they saw from him in that game.
Unless the Vikings re-sign Kline or bring in another free agent guard, I'd be shocked if Samia isn't the Week 1 starter at right guard. He's got all of the tools, now it's time to see if he can emerge in his second season.
Previous OL player previews:
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