7 Reactions to Vikings Win Over 49ers
The Minnesota Vikings came in as a seven-point underdog against the San Francisco 49ers. Brock Purdy has looked the part of a very good NFL quarterback, and Kyle Shanahan’s team has been among the best in the NFL. None of that mattered when Kevin O’Connell’s club came out and showed up on the field.
7 Reactions to Vikings Win Over 49ers
Having gotten off to a slow start this year, the Vikings have never seemed like a traditional 2-4 team. They have looked the part of a very ugly group at times, but discipline has been a greater issue than talent. Kevin O’Connell has a strong core to make up his 53-man roster, and beating good teams should not be unexpected for this group.
When the 49ers embarked upon U.S. Bank Stadium, Minnesota was looking to avoid a fourth straight home loss to start the season for the first time in franchise history. Traditionally, this team defends home turf, and they were going to need a great performance to avoid making negative history. They got exactly that, and there were plenty of standouts across the field on Monday night.
1. This Offensive Line is Legit
Sure, the bookends of Christian Darrisaw and Brian O’Neill are incredible, but the Vikings have an offensive line that is lightyears better than anything we’ve seen in recent seasons. Ed Ingram has really stepped it up since Dalton Risner was brought in, and Risner himself looked great filling in for Ezra Cleveland. Garrett Bradbury has been an asset since the dismal start to his career, and the culmination for this group was a big zero against San Francisco. Despite a strong pass rush, the 49ers could not bring down Kirk Cousins a single time, and the line was credited with allowing no sacks.
2. Cousins Was Great in Primetime
It hasn’t been pretty for Captain Kirk when the lights are brightest over the course of his career, but he was cool, calm, and collected on Monday. Throwing the ball 45 times, he completed 35 passes and had a pair of touchdowns. He threw three poor balls, one of which Jordan Addison wrestled away for a touchdown and one that was picked off. The third could have resulted in another Addison touchdown, but it was wide to the left side of the end zone. His 378 yards resulted from pocket presence and the astounding job done by Minnesota’s men up front. Cousins not only kept the Vikings ahead but orchestrated drives that looked near flawless.
3. Kevin O’Connell Coached Wonderfully
Going into last season, Minnesota’s biggest differentiator to its credit was a change in leadership. Although this year hasn’t started as planned for the Vikings, O’Connell has remained himself as a head coach. Not getting down, he dialed up something of a perfect gameplan on Monday night. Outside of the inability to score from within the five-yard line, the Vikings play calling was basically flawless. Dominating possession and keeping San Francisco waiting for most of the game, O’Connell should be ecstatic about how the matchup unfolded.
4. Jordan Addison Is the Real Deal
For a couple of weeks now, the Vikings have been waiting for Jordan Addison to have his breakout game. It came when they needed him most, and he didn’t let the first drive miscue throw him off his game. The 60-yard touchdown to end the half was impressive, but he was also routinely on the receiving end of plays that moved the sticks and converted in tough spots. Cousins looked to him early and often, and Addison looks like a star who will give teams fits alongside Justin Jefferson.
5. Role Players Stepped Up
Brandon Powell is the first name that comes to mind here. He caught four of five targets for 64 yards. When Addison went out with cramps, it was Powell who shined in his absence. Minnesota targeted Powell as a known commodity coming over from Los Angeles, and it may not be long before he takes even more playing time from K.J. Osborn. On the defensive side, D.J. Wonnum filled in for Marcus Davenport exceptionally well. He had a big hit on Brock Purdy, and although Danielle Hunter was the only player to record a sack, the pressure was felt by San Francisco.
6. T.J. Hockenson Had the Game He Needed
It has been an up-and-down year for the Vikings’ newly extended tight end. There is no doubt that Hockenson is among the best at the position across the NFL, but drops and ineffectiveness have bit him some in 2023. Cousins targeted Hockenson a game-high 12 times, and he pulled in 11 of them. Hockenson dealt with some bumps and bruises throughout the game but kept coming back and put up 86 yards along the way.
7. A Change in Running Backs
Alexander Mattison continued to operate as the lead back, but he took a big hit and struggled in the passing game. Cam Akers led the team with 10 rushing attempts, and although his efficiency wasn’t what it has been to this point, his abilities as a receiver really set him apart when his number was called. Continuing to find ways to get him more involved in the offense is a must, and anything less than a 50/50 split at this point would seem to be doing him a disservice.
It is beyond appreciated that Greg Joseph’s missed extra point and field goal didn’t come back to haunt Minnesota. Kicking has been a problem for the Vikings over the years, but he has been somewhat of a steadying presence. That the team came together and Cam Bynum was able to seal it with his second interception of the game was nice to see.
Minnesota played what could be one of the best games O’Connell has ever been responsible for, and now parlaying that into an extended run of victories is what everyone involved has to be hoping for.
Jordan Addison Did It in a Big Way
Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.