Mike Zimmer: Harrison Smith should have been penalized, not ejected

Vikings safety Harrison Smith was ejected from Sunday’s game against the Texans for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Texans tight end Jordan Akins and Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer wasn’t shy about expressing his disagreement with the call.

Zimmer’s face shield got steamed up a bit as he shared his view that it was the incorrect call and he shared more of his feelings about it when he spoke to reporters after the 31-23 win.

“Quarterbacks can throw the ball in the middle of the field and there’s no repercussions whatsoever,” Zimmer said, via Jeff Wald of KMSP. “Harrison is not a dirty player. He’s never been a dirty player. I feel like he tried to get his shoulder in there. They told me that the league office ejected him. They want to give us a penalty? Fine, give us a penalty but don’t eject guys. This guy’s one of the best players in the NFL and one of the best guys in the NFL.”

NFL officiating head Al Riveron said that the call to disqualify Smith came from the field, but the league office agreed with that decision.

“The ruling on the field was that of a foul on a defenseless player, and also an ejection” Riveron said, via pool reporter John McClain of the Houston Chronicle. “Anytime the officials rule a disqualification on the field, we take a look at it in replay to make sure that it is there. After we looked at it, there was nothing clear and obvious for us to overturn the ruling on the field, therefore the ruling on the field stood.”

George Iloka took over for Smith and played alongside Anthony Harris at safety for the rest of the game.