The Vikings Challenge Just Got Tougher for Monday

National Opinion of the Vikings Is Different from Yours
Aug 20, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings fans react before a preseason game against the San Francisco 49ers at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings will be without their best player on Monday Night Football in Justin Jefferson due to a hobbled hamstring, but their opponent is trending to have its keynote superstar.

The Vikings Challenge Just Got Tougher for Monday

That club is the San Francisco 49ers, and until Sunday morning, Christian McCaffrey’s status was up in the air because of an oblique injury. But now, all indications hint at McCaffrey in San Francisco’s starting lineup.

ESPN Adam Schefter tweeted — probably advice for fantasy managers — before Sunday operation kicked off, “All signs point to 49ers’ RB Christian McCaffrey playing Monday night at Minnesota, despite the fact that he is listed as questionable due to an oblique injury, per sources. McCaffrey returned to practice in a limited way Saturday and said after that he feels ‘great.'”

Challenge Just Got Tougher
Jan 14, 2023; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey (23) gets past Seattle Seahawks linebacker Bruce Irvin (51) in the second quarter during a wild card game at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports.

Vikings and 49ers fans had monitored McCaffrey’s status all week after the herculean playmaker left last weekend’s 49ers-Browns matchup early. San Francisco lost after rookie kicker Jake Moody missed a would-be game-winning field goal from 41 yards out.

On the other hand, the 49ers will be without Deebo Samuel on Monday night (shoulder), hitting injured reserve. Left tackle Trent Williams is doubtful with an ankle malady.

Sep 10, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; San Francisco 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey (23) runs with the ball down the sideline with Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Patrick Peterson (20) defending during the second half at Acrisure Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota is, of course, missing the aforementioned Jefferson for at least three more games, outside linebacker Marcus Davenport was placed on IR this week, left guard Ezra Cleveland is out for a game, Dalton Risner is in, and starting cornerback Akayleb Evans is questionable.

McCaffrey ranks second in the NFL per yards from scrimmage (730) behind Miami Dolphins wideout Tyreek Hill (828) and is second in touchdowns (9) to Dolphins tailback Raheem Mostert (11).

He also has +1800 odds to win the 2023 NFL MVP award, the best odds for a non-quarterback, and about the same as Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson. Tua Tagovailoa and Patrick Mahomes lead the way through six weeks with around +350 odds.

Oct 15, 2023; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; San Francisco 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey (23) warms up before the game between the 49ers and the Cleveland Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports.

The Vikings have lost their last two matchups versus the 49ers — a 2021 regular matchup at Levi’s Stadium and the 2019 Divisional Playoff showdown that ended the Vikings season. San Francisco, though, has not won a game in Minnesota since 1992, losing six straight contests at U.S. Bank Stadium and the Metrodome.

The 49ers are favored by seven points to send Minnesota to a 2-5 record, and the point spread oddly didn’t move with the McCaffrey news Sunday morning. Oddsmakers may have possessed intel all week that McCaffrey would likely play.

Jan 11, 2020; Santa Clara, California, USA; Minnesota Vikings center Garrett Bradbury (56) and the offense lines up against the San Francisco 49ers defense during the first half in the NFC Divisional Round playoff football game at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

Minnesota has never lost four consecutive home games to start a season, a streak in real jeopardy on Monday night.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by