By: Abby Altman
The Vikings and the 49ers faced off in a game with the playoffs on the line
The Vikings and 49ers both started week 12 with matching 5-5 records, both looking to sneak their way into a wildcard spot.
The 49ers, with the win, have now won 3 in a row, putting their early season struggles behind them, for now. The Vikings, coming off a win from the 9-3 Packers, came up short in a highly entertaining game.
49ers defensive end Nick Bosa said, “We’re all excited to be back in the mix and have the season in our control.”
This matchup was fast moving, with 4 touchdowns in the 1st half, and 6 scores in the 3rd quarter alone, propelled by Kene Nwangwu’s 99 yard kickoff return. This is Nwangwu’s 2nd kickoff return for a touchdown this season.
With 18 seconds left in the first half, the 49ers ended an 87 yard drive with a touchdown pass, tying the game. The Vikings are the team with the most points allowed, in the final 2 minutes, of the first half, since 2000. The Vikings have given up 66 points in the last 2 minutes, of the first half, this season.
Late in the 3rd quarter, the 49ers were gifted a turnover in Vikings’ territory when Dalvin Cook fumbled the ball after going down with a shoulder injury. Cook left the game and had an MRI on Monday. Coach Zimmer is not stating what exactly the MRI showed. Cook has already been playing with a torn labrum, and he is now day to day, with his next week status unknown. Anthony Barr also left the game in the 3rd quarter with a hamstring injury.
The 49ers did just enough to come away with a win over Minnesota, with a game saving 4th down stop on the goal line in the 4th quarter.
The Vikings played short of what we’ve seen them do earlier this season. The defense allowed 208 yards rushing on 39 carries, allowing the 49ers run game to dominate the field. “They came with it,” said Vikings linebacker Erick Kendricks. “We knew that their run game was really good. Very complex, very confusing. They have a lot of people to block and open up for it. It was about eliminating that and we didn’t do it.”
The Vikings offense had only 67 rushing yards, and 262 receiving yards, with Cousins completing 20/32 with 238 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 1 interception, ending his streak of 212 straight passes without an interception. Thielen had 2 receiving touchdowns, and Mattison rushed for 1.
The Vikings schedule is easing up for the next 3 weeks with matchups against Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Chicago. Hopefully, 3 wins straight will help the Vikings find their way into a wildcard spot, potentially alongside San Francisco.
Note: Since the writing of this article, the Vikings lost to the winless Lions. It is this writer’s opinion that the Vikings tend to play down to their competition, and it showed against Detroit.