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Early Look: Vikings vs. 49ers

Posted Aug 21, 2017

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — After two straight preseason games on the road, the Vikings are coming home.

The Vikings will play host to the San Francisco 49ers at 7 p.m. (CT) Sunday in a nationally televised game on NBC.

Minnesota split its first two preseason games, winning in Buffalo before losing in Seattle last Friday.

Minnesota went 8-8 in 2016 and finished third in the NFC North. San Francisco was last in the NFC West with a 2-14 mark.

Here’s an early look at Sunday’s game:

Passing: Quarterback Sam Bradford played three series in Seattle, completing 7-of-11 passes for 95 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions.

Case Keenum passed for 70 yards, and Taylor Heinicke threw for 84 yards, including a 21-yard touchdown pass to rookie tight end Bucky Hodges.

Heinicke has thrown touchdown passes in each of Minnesota’s first two preseason games.

49ers starter Brian Hoyer threw for 89 yards and an interception Saturday against Denver. Backup Matt Barkley attempted just two passes, and C.J. Beathard threw for 110 yards and a touchdown against the Broncos.

Rushing: Vikings rookie running back Dalvin Cook had seven carries for 40 yards in Seattle, with his best stretch coming when he had 33 yards on three straight carries.

Jerick McKinnon lost six yards on his only carry, and Heinicke scrambled for 25 yards.

The 49ers had 37 rushing yards on 19 carries against the Broncos, good for an average of just 1.9 yards per carry. Carlos Hyde led the way with 26 yards on eight attempts.

Receiving: Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs had four catches for 65 yards, including a 39-yard gain on Minnesota’s first series of the game against the Seahawks. 

Hodges had a pair of receptions for 54 yards, including the touchdown from Heinicke. The rookie tight end’s catches came on consecutive plays in the fourth quarter. Rookie wide receiver Rodney Adams had four grabs for 26 yards.

San Francisco’s Marquise Goodwin had three catches for 44 yards while rookie tight end George Kittle had three receptions for 33 yards and a touchdown. Aldrick Robinson had one grab for 39 yards.

Defense: Minnesota’s starting defense played two series, giving up a touchdown on the opening drive to Seattle. The Vikings then settled down, and Danielle Hunter recorded a sack on Russell Wilson.

Rookie defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson had a pair of tackles in the backfield to lead the backups.

The Vikings have not forced an interception in the first two preseason games, but have recovered a fumble in each.

San Francisco gave up 328 total yards of offense in its second preseason game, including 146 on the ground.

The 49ers gave up a league-high 2,654 rushing yards in 2016 as opponents scored 25 touchdowns on the ground.

Special Teams: Each Vikings kicker made his only field goal try on Friday. Kai Forbath was good from 51 yards out, and Marshall Koehn nailed his 29-yard attempt.

Taylor Symmank averaged 42.3 yards per punt on three kicks and landed one of them inside the 20-yard line. Ryan Quigley averaged 40.7 yards on three punts with two of them pinning the Seahawks inside the 20.

49ers punter Bradley Pinion averaged 44.8 yards on four punts. Victor Bolden had five kickoff returns for 184 yards, including a 104-yard return for a touchdown.

Over The Years

The Vikings are 22-23-1 all-time against San Francisco, a series that includes five postseason meetings. Minnesota is 1-4 against the 49ers in the playoffs.

The teams played each other twice a year for the first six seasons in Vikings history, and Minnesota went 6-5-1 in that span.

The Vikings have won five of the past seven meetings.

Last meeting: 49ers 20, Vikings 3, Sept. 14, 2015, in Santa Clara

The Vikings opened up the 2015 season with a dud and were handed a loss on Monday Night Football.

Vikings safety Andrew Sendejo blocked a field goal on San Francisco’s opening possession, but Minnesota couldn’t capitalize as Blair Walsh later missed a 44-yard field goal.

The Vikings offense managed just three points as quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was sacked five times. Bridgewater threw for 232 yards and an interception while the Vikings also totaled just 71 rushing yards as a team.

San Francisco gashed the Vikings defense on the ground, rushing for 230 yards and two touchdowns on 39 carries.

Although the Vikings opened their season with a loss, they would rebound to finish with an 11-5 record and win the NFC North.