Snap Reactions after 49ers-Vikings

November 28, 2021; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers cornerback Josh Norman (26) is called for pass interference against Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) during the fourth quarter at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

From a suggestion by a reader, we author a “snap reactions” weekly piece detailing thoughts and analysis after a Minnesota Vikings game.

This will be off-the-cuff, a wee bit “random,” and hopefully insightful.

  1. Because the Eagles, Panthers, and Saints lost, the Vikings now hold a 51% chance to reach the playoffs, per FiveThirtyEight. Outlandish personalities will tell you the sky is falling or that the season is cooked — this is false. If the Vikings defeat the Lions and Steelers in the next two weeks, the sins of November 28th are washed away. This is not interpretive.
  2. Finally, the Vikings hit the mushy part of the schedule, taking on the Lions on the road, Steelers at home, and the Bears in Chicago in the next three weeks. It’s been quite some time since the Vikings had a trio of beatable opponents — or that Minnesota will be favored.
  3. Kirk Cousins was ineffective in the 2nd Half at San Francisco. These types of games are what fully separate him from an elite tier of quarterbacking. You can just jot it down because Week 12 was a prime example.
  4. The Dalvin Cook injury is daunting. It is unclear if the dislocated shulder ends his season. If it does, the Vikings will dovetail into a passing team — even more than they’ve already trended this season.
  5. The Vikings lost a road game in which their quarterback was iffy down the stretch, no starting defensive line was available, the turnover battle was lost, and the opponents’ running attack could not be stopped. While this loss is dismaying, it shouldn’t be shocking. Like, at all.
  6. Minnesota lost the time-of-possession battle by 37 minutes to 23 minutes. Most teams lose when that occurs — and the Zimmer version of the Vikings especially loses when upside down in time of possession so egregiously.
  7. The officiating was suspect, but the 49ers outplayed the Vikings. Plain and simple.
  8. The Vikings have lost both games in which Kene Nwangwu returned a kickoff for a touchdown. That is damning. Those game-changing plays are supposed to propel a team to victory. No such luck.
  9. Turnovers crept up on Sunday. It was bound to happen eventually. With sarcasm attached, shockingly — the Vikings lost.
  10. Kudos to Sheldon Richardson for his adaptability to play on the EDGE. He isn’t built like a defensive end. He didn’t care.
  11. Any outside shot of the Vikings sneaking up on the Packers for the NFC North crown is formally dead.
  12. This season’s events still feel like a march to Zimmer’s termination. But at least a playoff appearance appears likely on the docket.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).