The 49ers didn’t just deflate the balloon that was the Vikings’ hopes and expectations for 2015. They snatched it from the hands of optimistic fans, grabbed the sharpest needle they could find, and popped it right in their faces.
Last night’s game was ugly, and one a distraught fanbase won’t soon forget. Carlos Hyde pounded head coach Mike Zimmer’s defense, carrying the ball 26 times for 168 yards and two touchdowns. Colin Kaepernick, the quarterback the Vikings were supposed to contain, eluded pass rushers and consistently moved the chains with his legs. In the words of Zimmer, maybe his team “just isn’t ready for primetime.”
I could go on, but I won’t — I’ll save the negativity for a breakdown of the game on Wednesday. Today, I want to take a different route, a more positive route. Despite the failures on offense, defense, and special teams — unacceptable given the team’s five preseason games to prepare — there were a few encouraging signs as the Vikings transition to their Week 2 opponent, the Detroit Lions.
Who stood out, and what can the Vikings build on as they try to establish an identity?