The Vikings are still alive and are on one game away from playing in their second NFC Championship in three years. While some in the national media are picking the Vikings to upset the San Francisco 49ers (unlike last week before the Saints game), the house money is still mostly on the 49ers.
What do the fellas at VikingsTerritory.com/purplePTSD.com think?
Let’s find out!
Kirby O’Connor Managing Editor purplePTSD.com
The Vikings are once again being counted out by the national media before their game kicks off. Last week in New Orleans, the underdogs were in control almost the entire game and held back a very good Saints offense, and defense for that matter. This week, they face a very similar challenge with one key difference. The Vikings are underdogs again, on the road, against a very good team on both sides of the ball. However, the purple and gold hold some key advantages compared to last week. First, the 49ers are not as experienced in the playoffs. Jimmy G is a very good quarterback, but didn’t look good last time he faced the Vikings defense. Add on the pressure of the playoffs and a, hopefully, good game plan from Mike Zimmer and it might just be a recipe for disaster for San Francisco’s quarterback.
Second, the Vikings have a hungry and healthy Dalvin Cook. Cook, who scored two touchdowns against the Saints, is one of the best running backs in the NFL. Teams that win in the playoffs often control the clock and run the ball when they want to, or at least need to. Finally, the Vikings have one of the most consistent special teams units in the league. In a game that looks to be as close as this one should be, the difference may come in the third phase. I’m going to call my shot as a Dan Bailey walk-off field goal.
Vikes- 24 San Fran- 23
Joe Oberle Editor purplePTSD.com/VikingsTerritory.com
This will be another low-scoring game, despite two good offenses on the field. It’s a good thing, perhaps, the game is on Saturday, so the Vikings don’t have an extra day to relish their Wild Card win and become flat. What may be the best intangible in their favor, however, is the fact that the Vikings have a number of players with playoff experience, both last weekend and in 2017-18 ,while the recently minted Niners are lacking in the category, comparatively speaking. If the Vikings can start fast and strong in this one, it may force the Niners to press a little and perhaps not play like the machine that they are. Jimmy Garoppolo has certainly seen plenty of playoff games standing on the sidelines with the New England Patriots, but he doesn’t have a start in the postseason—plus he has had all week to think about his first one.
The longer he gets comfortable and the action resembles a regular season game for him, the worse for the Vikings. So, it is imperative that the likes of Everson Griffen and Danielle Hunter greet him early and get in his face often. Throw the QB off (like they did last week to Drew Brees) and you can slow down a high scoring offense. I think the Vikings will slow them down and will also score enough to win.
Minnesota—24, San Francisco—23
Sean Borman Managing Editor VikingsTerritory.com
Last week we saw a glimpse of what the Vikings can be. Against all odds they basically controlled a road playoff game at times against a very efficient Saints squad.
This week, it’s another test. A different test. But I’m not sure it’s one that requires an entirely unique strategy.
Multiple – that’s been the word used to describe the Vikings’ offensive philosophy this season. That, along with “marrying the run game to the passing game” is something that worked quite well in New Orleans – and it’ll have to be duplicated against the 49ers.
That won’t be an easy task against maybe the most impressive defense the Vikings have faced all season.
The offensive line will have the toughest test. IF the unit can win a bulk of its battles up front, the offense will be able to control the clock and at the same time keep the veteran defenders fresh. That’ll allow Mike Zimmer to unleash another wrinkle to his defense that no one saw coming.
The 49ers are too strong in the trenches to be bullied, but the playoff experience held by Minnesota’s players and coaching staff gives them a very slight edge.
Vikings 18, 49ers 17
Joe Johnson Owner
I’m actually pretty optimistic about Saturday’s game and to be honest, that terrifies me.
The way I see it is this. If the Vikings can fluster Drew F’ing Brees, one of the best quarterbacks in the history of the league, then Zimmer and company should have something very special dialed up for Jimmy G. Garoppolo hasn’t played great as of late and while he hasn’t thrown a ton of interceptions, even papers/sites that support/cover the 49ers admit that he’s got a lot of tendencies that could lead to picks (inability to get beyond the first receiver in his progressions, inability to look off deep safety, iffy accuracy outside of the hash marks, etc.), and if the Vikings are able to shut down the trio of running backs the Niners employ… You get the picture.
I think that’s exactly what will happen, making the Niners offense one dimensional. The Vikings have also faced essentially every top ten tight end this season outside of George Kittle, who is the best in the league, however when the Vikings have faced Travis Kelce, Hunter Henry, Zach Ertz and more, they didn’t give up a single touchdown.
With the 49ers defense being 22nd against the run in terms of average yards per rush (albeit without Dee Ford or Kwon Alexander for large chunks this season), it’s not hard to think that the Vikings should be able to play their game with Dalvin Cook picking up chunks of yards on first-and-second down, allowing Cousins to rollout on play action and hit any of the amazing skill players this Vikings team has.
Vikings 28 – 49ers 18