The Vikings orchestrated an incredible fourth-quarter comeback to upend the 49ers 32-31 at U.S. Bank on Sunday Night Football.
San Francisco scored touchdowns of 46 and 24 yards on its first two possessions and added an 87-yard catch-and-run touchdown in the second half. The only time the 49ers trailed the Vikings was after the game clock had already hit 0:00.
Taylor Heinicke only played the final 2:44 but led the Vikings on the game-winning drive and punctuated it by diving across the goal line for a 2-point conversion.
Here are three stats that stood out:
1. 3-for-3 and 2-for-2
The Vikings were 3-for-3 in the red zone and 2-for-2 with goal-to-go situations against the 49ers. Minnesota moved the ball inside the San Francisco 20 three times and twice advanced it inside the 10. OK, that's technically two stats, but they are closely related.
A 9-yard touchdown pass from Case Keenum to Rodney Adams and a 1-yard plunge by running back Terrell Newby provided points on the goal-to-go situations. Kyle Carter caught a 16-yard touchdown pass from Keenum on the other possession inside the 20.
Minnesota improved to 5-for-7 inside the red zone and 4-for-4 on goal-to-go situations this preseason, showing improvement in an area that was a point of emphasis this offseason. The Vikings ranked 28th in red zone percentage (46.0) and 26th in goal-to-go success rate (61.5 percent) in 2016.
2. Only one chance apiece
Marshall Koehn, who is battling Kai Forbath for the kicking job, handled all five kickoffs for the Vikings, and four resulted in touchbacks. The only one that didn't was returned 28 yards to the 25-yard line, which is where the ball is now placed after touchbacks.
The 49ers executed six kickoffs and rotated between Bradley Pinion, Robbie Gould and Nick Rose. Five of those kickoffs resulted in touchbacks, but the one that didn't was returned 108 yards by Jerick McKinnon.
McKinnon zoomed past Gould and turned on the juice near midfield to win the race to the end zone. The play provided a much-needed boost seconds after the Vikings allowed an 87-yard touchdown.
McKinnon and blockers showed the value that Minnesota sees in special teams, and he might be the front-runner for the kickoff return job.
3. A couple "freebies"
Of the 25 first downs earned for the Vikings, five were awarded via 49ers penalties:
• A neutral zone infraction on third-and-1 (five-yard penalty)
• A defensive holding during a 5-yard run (five-yard penalty)
• A pass interference drawn by Michael Floyd (23 yards awarded)
• An offside penalty on third-and-1 (five-yard penalty)
• A pass interference drawn by Stacy Coley (four yards awarded)
While the pass interference penalties can be part of competing hard or a reaction to thinking one is about to be defeated on a play, the pair of pre-snap penalties on third-and-1s extended Vikings possessions without a play by the offense to earn the right to stay on the field.
San Francisco finished with nine penalties for 75 yards, compared to seven for 50 yards by Minnesota. None of the Vikings penalties resulted in a first down for the 49ers.