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Vikings-49ers Game Observations

MINNEAPOLIS — The Vikings switched their approach to their backup quarterbacks on Saturday night, but the offense sputtered multiple times, regardless of who was playing QB in a 17-7 loss to the 49ers.

Minnesota started second-year pro Kellen Mond, who played nearly all of the first quarter, before veteran Sean Mannion entered the game and played the entire second quarter.

Mond went 6-for-10 in the first quarter for 43 yards. He was picked off by George Odum to end Minnesota's opening drive that had started with promise. Mond's passer rating in the first quarter was 30.4.

Mannion was 9-for-11 in the second quarter for 59 yards and a passer rating of 89.0.

The Vikings split reps between Mond and Mannion in the third and fourth quarters.

Mond finished 10-of-20 passing for 82 yards with two total interceptions and a passer rating of 21.2.

Mannion ended 10-for-15 with 65 yards and a passer rating of 75.7.

Here are four more observations presented by Minnesota Eye Consultants, the Proud LASIK Partner of the Minnesota Vikings, followed by a scoring summary:

1. Resting on the work done this week

The Vikings announced before the game that following players were not expected to play:

3 CB Cameron Dantzler, Sr., 4 RB Dalvin Cook, 7 CB Patrick Peterson, 8 QB Kirk Cousins, 17 WR K.J. Osborn, 18 WR Justin Jefferson, 19 WR Adam Thielen, 22 S Harrison Smith, 24 S Camryn Bynum, 30 FB C.J. Ham, 39 CB Chandon Sullivan, 54 LB Eric Kendricks, 55 OLB Za'Darius Smith, 56 C Garrett Bradbury, 62 OL Chris Reed, 71 T Christian Darrisaw, 72 G Ezra Cleveland, 73 G Jesse Davis, 75 T Brian O'Neill, 78 DL Jullian Taylor, 84 TE Irv Smith, Jr., 85 WR Dan Chisena, 86 TE Johnny Mundt, 94 DL Dalvin Tomlinson, 97 DL Harrison Phillips and 99 OLB Danielle Hunter

The 49ers announced a list of 27 players who were not expected to play.

Vikings Head Coach Kevin O'Connell and 49ers Head Coach Kyle Shanahan clearly were pleased with the amount of work their starters put forth and the tasks accomplished during the teams' joint practices on Wednesday and Thursday before the game.

2. Minimizing damage after sudden change; failing to capitalize

The Vikings defense was able to limit the damage after a sudden change of possession that resulted from Ihmir Smith-Marsette's fumble during a punt return.

The 49ers got the ball at the Minnesota 34-yard line and opened with a run by Trey Sermon, but rookie linebacker Brian Asamoah II tackled the running back for a loss of 1 to disrupt San Francisco's momentum. A short pass was followed by an incompletion.

In the third quarter, the Vikings defense was able to capitalize on a botched handoff fumbled by QB Brock Purdy.

OLB Luiji Vilain recovered the ball and returned it 13 yards to the Minnesota 19-yard line.

The offense, however, possessed the ball for less than 90 seconds.

After a 5-yard penalty on Hassan Ridgeway, Minnesota tried a screen pass that Ridgeway tipped.

A 5-yard pass to Jalen Nailor was followed by an incompletion to Zach Davidson.

3. Tight ends have divergent days

No, George Kittle wasn't in action for San Francisco on Saturday.

But the Vikings struggled to cover the other 49ers tight ends.

Tanner Hudson (five catches, 43 yards), Ross Dwelley (three for 38), Tyler Kroft (one for 19) and Troy Fumagalli (two for 10) each made plays for San Francisco. That's 11 catches for 110 of the team's 215 passing yards on 12 targets.

The Vikings did not have as much success when targeting their tight ends.

Already without Irv Smith, Jr., the Vikings also opted not to play Mundt.

That left Ben Ellefson, Zach Davidson, Nick Muse and Shaun Beyer available.

Muse had the biggest box score with three catches for 29 yards by the rookie. Ellefson added two catches for 8 yards. Davidson was limited to one catch for a gain of 6 on four targets. Beyer was not targeted.

4. Third down woes continue

Keep in mind the Vikings aren't scheming against their preseason opponents or showing much of their offense.

But a week after going 1-for-7 on third down, the Vikings went just 2-for-11.

San Francisco converted seven of 16 third downs and possessed the football for more than 37 minutes.

Scoring summary

Q2, 9:35 remaining

49ers 3, Vikings 0

Robbie Gould kicks a 49-yard field goal [4 plays, 3 yards, 1:36]

Points off turnover: San Francisco made the Vikings pay for the fumbled punt return.

Q2, 1:39 remaining

Vikings 7, 49ers 3

Ty Chandler 3-yard run (Greg Joseph kicks PAT) [8 plays, 60 yards, 3:00 time of possession]

No third downs: The Vikings put together their best drive of the first half by completely avoiding third down during the possession. Minnesota converted a second-and-7 with a pass from Sean Mannion to Bisi Johnson and a second-and-6 with a pass to Smith-Marsette before Chandler scored on a second-and-2 from the San Francisco 3.

Q2, 0:00 remaining

Vikings 7, 49ers 6

Gould kicks a 46-yard field goal [9 plays, 47 yards, 1:39]

Key completion: The 49ers picked up a third-and-12 from their own 23-yard line with a 21-yard pass from Brock Purdy to Malik Turner. Purdy followed with three more completions of 11, 16 and 11 to move within Gould's range.

Q4, 14:57 remaining

49ers 14, Vikings 7

JaMycal Hasty catches a 2-yard pass from Nate Sudfeld (Sudfeld conversion pass to Danny Gray) [14 plays, 79 yards, 7:58]

Three conversions: The 49ers converted three third downs during the long possession, picking up a third-and-8 with a 13-yard pass to Willie Snead IV and a third-and-5 with a 5-yard pass to Hudson. Minnesota helped the third conversion when Janarius Robinson was penalized for a neutral zone infraction. Instead of a third-and-goal from the 5, the 49ers completed the scoring pass from the 2.

Q4, 4:09 remaining

49ers 17, Vikings 7

Gould kicks a 28-yard field goal [9 plays, 27 yards, 4:17]

Golden field position: The 49ers capitalized on starting the drive at the Minnesota 37.