View game action photos between the Vikings and 49ers during the Week 12 matchup at Levi's Stadium.
The Vikings quest to get above .500 will have to wait. And Minnesota only has itself to blame for this one.
Minnesota suffered a 34-26 road loss against San Francisco on Sunday, as the Vikings also missed a chance to firmly establish themselves as a solid postseason contender in the NFC playoff picture.
The Vikings, who fell to 5-6 on the season, have not been above .500 since the end of the 2019 season, a stretch of 37 regular-season games.
Minnesota had a chance to get a head-to-head win over San Francisco, as well as pull away from other teams fighting for NFC Wild Card spots. Philadelphia and Carolina lost Sunday (and New Orleans lost on Thanksgiving Day), although Atlanta did win.
The 49ers moved ahead of the Vikings and into the No. 6 seed, which Minnesota occupied before the game. The Vikings dropped into the seventh and final NFC playoff spot with the loss.
As usual, it was another one-score game for Minnesota, which has now played in such contests in 10 of 11 games.
The Vikings had plenty of chances in this one.
Down 34-26, the Vikings faced first-and-goal from the 6-yard line but came away with zero points. Minnesota twice ran it with Alexander Mattison before Kirk Cousins threw incomplete passes to Tyler Conklin and Justin Jefferson.
San Francisco took over with 9:04 left on the clock and drained more than seven minutes, but the 49ers missed a field goal.
The Vikings then drove into 49ers territory, but Kirk Cousins' pass to Jefferson on fourth-and-8 fell incomplete.
The Vikings are on the road again in Week 13 against the lions. Kickoff from Detroit is at noon (CT). Minnesota earned a 19-17 home win over Detroit in Week 5.
Here are four other takeaways from Minnesota's Week 12 loss:
Nwangwu does it again
Kene Nwangwu might need to start making room for some postseason hardware.
The Vikings rookie produced more magic Sunday, returning his second kickoff return for a touchdown this season.
Nwangwu took the kickoff with just under five minutes left in the third quarter and went 99 yards to the house.
Both of his scores have come on the road, as the 2021 fourth-round pick out of Iowa State had a 98-yard kickoff return for a score in Week 9 in Baltimore.
Nwangwu was one of five players in the league with a kickoff return for a score this season, and he is now the only player with multiple touchdowns in this area.
He is the first Vikings rookie since Cordarrelle Patterson in 2013 to have multiple kickoff return TDs in a season. Nwangwu, Patterson and Percy Harvin are the only Vikings rookies with multiple kickoff returns for touchdowns in Vikings history.
Harvin (2009) and Patterson (2013) earned Associated Press All-Pro accolades.
Vikings hit hard by injuries
The health of a few Vikings will be worth watching this week after a physical game against the 49ers.
The main storyline will be the health of Dalvin Cook, who left the game late in the third quarter after a scary play. The running back was tackled for a loss of 4 yards and fumbled, but he was shaken up after the play and had to leave the game on a cart.
Cook, who was ruled out with a shoulder injury, was attended to by trainers and encouraged by players on both teams as he left the field.
The Vikings also played the majority of the second half without linebacker Anthony Barr, who exited the game with a hamstring injury.
And Minnesota lost Christian Darrisaw early in the fourth quarter, as the rookie left tackle was replaced by Rashod Hill.
The 49ers were also hit hard, as playmaker Deebo Samuel left the game in the third quarter and did not return.
Vikings lose critical moments
The Vikings lost the battle in multiple areas Sunday, but they all added up to give the Vikings a loss on the scoreboard, too.
The time-of-possession battle? Minnesota held the ball for just 23 minutes, compared to 37 minutes for San Francisco.
A depleted Vikings defense, especially up front along the defensive line, struggled to stop the run.
The 49ers ran for 208 total yards, which was more than San Francisco had in its January 2020 playoff win over Minnesota. That tally is the second-highest allowed by Minnesota all season.
The Vikings also lost the turnover battle.
Harrison Smith had an interception for the Vikings, but Cousins was picked off and Cook fumbled in key areas.
Minnesota led 14-7 with under a minute to go, but San Francisco scored right before and right after the half to take the lead for good.
Cousins was picked off with the Vikings down 21-14, and the 49ers made it a two-score game on the next play.
Thielen scores twice, Jefferson hits 1K
Adam Thielen did his part Sunday, with five catches for 62 yards and two scores. He had 2-yard and 20-yard touchdown catches against San Francisco.
That marked Thielen's eighth-career multi-receiving touchdown game, and the most by a Viking since his debut in 2014.
Here is Thielen's second score:
Jefferson, meanwhile, finished with four catches for 83 yards. He surpassed the 1,000-yard mark on the season on the day.
Jefferson now has 67 catches for 1,027 yards on the season.