Minnesota at San Francisco: Divisional round preview

Sonja Greenfield, Senior NFL Reporter NFC North, NFC East

By Sonja Greenfield //@Mom23RN

After a dramatic and controversial win over the New Orleans Saints, the Minnesota Vikings now head to the Bay Area to take on the NFC West champion San Francisco 49ers who were enjoying a first-round bye.

The last time the 49ers played the Vikings was the first game of the 2018 season, and the Vikings came away with the win, however, you and I both know that the 49ers were a much different team last year. The Niners finished last year with a record of 4-12 and not expected to make any noise this year.  Ahh, but they did.

Behind a very confident quarterback in Jimmy Garoppolo, they were able to win the division. The Minnesota Vikings, on the other hand, were supposed to be contenders last year, but finished at 8-7 and missed the playoffs.

Which brings us to this meeting of the teams in the divisional round.  Let’s take a look at what each team will have to do to be able to move on.

Minnesota Vikings:  First off, this team went on the road, to a place where it’s very hard to win, and won. That should tell you what you need to know about this team. They’re gritty and tough, and most importantly, healthy!

Continuing to feed Dalvin Cook the ball is going to be essential. Against the Saints, he had 2 touchdowns and 94 yards rushing.  In the regular season, they were 17th against the run. On the other hand, they’re going to have to figure out ways to get the receiving game going against the league’s number one pass defense.

Offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski is going to really have to design a good game plan for wide receivers Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs.  Defensively, they’re really going to have to keep an eye on the Niners tight end George Kittle and their WR group, which will be a tough ask for the 14th ranked defense.

San Fransisco 49ers:  They say defense wins championships, and for this 49ers team, it could happen. It’s been their calling card all year, along with their 3rd ranked offense.

Minnesota is going to have their hands full trying to stop Kittle and WR Emmanuel Samuels. But the one downside of this team is that not very many of them have playoff experience.  For that, they would have to lean on veterans like cornerback Richard Sherman and Samuels.  However, this team seems to be pretty tight, and ready to face the Vikings. They’ve succeeded when not many people thought they would this year, and that can go a very long way to motivating a team.

So who wins?  My guess… Niners 31 – Vikings 21

Talk playoffs with Sonja on Twitter @Mom23RN

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