How Do the 49ers Avoid a Vikings Result?

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers have been a juggernaut for the majority of the season. While they have been favored in the vast majority of their contests, they weren’t perfect either. That was never more prominent than it was on Monday, October 23, 2023, in Minneapolis. How can the 49ers avoid another letdown in their biggest game of the season?

How Do the 49ers Avoid a Vikings Result?

When the San Francisco 49ers came to U.S. Bank Stadium, they were without a handful of key players. The Minnesota Vikings were also without the best wide receiver in the NFL, but Kirk Cousins put the team on his back, and his 378-yard performance ended in a 22-17 victory for the home team.

the 49ers Avoid
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Looking at what the Vikings did well, the success certainly came through the air. Cousins threw for nearly 400 yards, and even without Jefferson, Jordan Addison and T.J. Hockenson combined to haul in 22 receptions. Despite San Francisco’s solid defense, Minnesota picked them apart through the air. If a team wants to do that against them, it’s the Kansas City Chiefs and quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

It can’t be overstated how bad the Chiefs wide receivers have been this year. While there has been a level of development and increased success for some of them, others have left an otherworldly quarterback underutilized more often than not. This isn’t the game where the personnel will suddenly change, but Mahomes needs the group to step up in a big way one more time.

Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports.

Andy Reid’s team isn’t going to beat the 49ers by running the football, and that’s something that San Francisco knows as well. Kyle Shanahan’s team has plenty of weapons on offense, and he employs a good defense, but getting beat through the air and giving up quick scores isn’t a way to beat Patrick Mahomes. 

Although it’s Mahomes who has multiple rings and has been in the situation a handful of times during his early career, 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy should have a fire fueled by last season.

Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports.

Coming so close to reaching the pinnacle and then falling short after an early injury is something he definitely hasn’t forgotten. Remembering performances like the Vikings game earlier this season and the losses along the way, Shanahan can prepare to have this be his best effort of the year.

Similar to the competency of the Chiefs’ wide receivers, Shanahan and the 49ers’ defense needs to show up and stop air yards just one more time this season. They can turn the page and enjoy a much more celebratory offseason if the plan is executed to perfection.

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.