EAGAN, Minn. – The Vikings (2-4) will host the 49ers (5-1) at 7:15 p.m. (CT) in Week 7.
It will be the 50th overall meeting (regular season or playoffs) between the division rivals as Minnesota plays its first of six scheduled NFC North games this season.
Here are all the ways to catch the action, followed by three things the Vikings.com editorial staff will be watching for during the game.
ESPN and ABC (KSTP in the Twin Cities)
Play-by-Play: Joe Buck
Analyst: Troy Aikman
Sideline reporter: Lisa Salters
Because this is a national broadcast, people will be able to watch the game on their iOS mobile devices with the Vikings app or Vikings mobile site (Safari browser only). The Yahoo! Sports app for smartphones and tablets offers another method for viewing live local and prime-time NFL games.
KFAN (100.3-FM), KTLK 1130-AM and the five-state Vikings Radio Network
Play-by-Play: Paul Allen
Analyst: Pete Bercich
Sideline reporter: Ben Leber
Note: The pregame radio show on the Vikings Radio Network will begin at 5 p.m. (CT).
Audio Streaming Option: Catch the audio broadcast on your smart devices through the KFAN channel on the iHeart app.
Westwood One (check listings)
Play-by-Play: Kevin Harlan
Analyst: Kurt Warner
Catch the Vikings on Tico Sports at WREY "El Rey" 94.9 FM and 630 AM in the Twin Cities and on Tico-Sports.com, elrey949fm.com and Vikings.com.
Play-by-Play: Gabriel Rios
Analyst: Isaias Zendejas
San Francisco: SiriusXM 158 or 226/Or in the app
Minnesota: SiriusXM 83 or 225/Or in the app
National: SiriusXM 88/Or in the app
Click here for the full bevy of options that include over-the-air, cable, satellite, over-the-top and streaming methods.
NFL+ AND NFL+ PREMIUM
Start your free trial of NFL+ today to watch Vikings preseason games live or on-demand.
NFL+ and NFL+ Premium provide all the action when you are on the go. It is available in the NFL app and at NFL.com/plus.
NFL+ is available for $6.99/month or $39.99/year and offers the following:
· Live out-of-market preseason games across devices
· Live local and prime-time regular-season and postseason games on your phone or tablet
· Live game audio (home, away & national calls) for every game of the season
· NFL Films' on-demand content, ad-free
NFL+ Premium is available for $14.99/month or $79.99/year and offers all the NFL+ features and the following:
· Full game replays across devices (ad-free)
· Condensed game replays across devices (ad-free)
· Coaches film (ad-free)
THREE THINGS WE'LL BE WATCHING
Can Vikings Re-Establish the Run? | By Ellis Williams
The Vikings might glean lessons from the Browns last week as they try to re-establish their running game against a 49ers defense that is only allowing 80.2 rushing yards per game.
Despite featuring All-Pro talents like defensive end Nick Bosa and linebacker Fred Warner, San Francisco allowed 160 yards on 34 carries to the Browns last week. Not only did Cleveland find open running lanes, but Browns running backs Kareem Hunt and Jerome Ford each had explosive runs at critical moments.
View photos from the Vikings practice on Oct. 19 at the TCO Performance Center.
Ford's game-long run of 22 yards popped just before the 2-minute warning. Three plays later, Browns kicker Dustin Hopkins nailed a game-winning 29-yard field goal with 1:43 remaining.
"They made a lot of timely plays when they needed in clutch moments, and they ran the ball very effectively," Offensive Coordinator Wes Phillips said. "They had some good scheme in there. They had some good, quick passes to kind of steal some yards in some certain situations. ... I thought as far as what teams have been able to do to these guys in the run game for them was really key."
Browns offensive line coach Bill Callahan and Head Coach Kevin Stefanski successfully schemed an edge advantage against a usually stout 49ers front. Wide-zone runs dressed with several motion variations helped force a season-high 10 missed tackles by the 49ers.
San Francisco tends to play four-down linemen set in a wide-9 technique, meaning one of their defensive ends aligns on the outside shoulder of the tight end to the formation's strength. The goal is to create a theoretical roadblock that forces ball carriers to cut back to the middle of the field and into interior reinforcements.
The Browns counteracted the wide-9 by running interior trap plays and quick-hitting screens while still testing the 49ers commitment to setting the edge. Cleveland's comprehensive rushing scheme helped the Browns win as double-digit home underdogs.
By keeping the game close, Minnesota could lean on its one-two punch of Alexander Mattison and Cam Akers to gain valuable yardage against a sound 49ers defense.
Nwangwu back in action as Vikings kickoff returner | By Lindsey Young
The Vikings will have Kene Nwangwu back to receive kickoffs for the first time this season.
The All-Pro kick returner has been sidelined since training camp with a back injury and was placed on Injured Reserve Aug. 30. Nwangwu was designated to return to practice last week and activated to the 53-man roster Wednesday.
Vikings Special Teams Coordinator Matt Daniels spoke with Twin Cities media members on Wednesday and confirmed Nwangwu is ready to go.
"It's safe to say he was looking good out there, moving around really well," Daniels said. "He's feeling good, feeling confident again, really has his football legs back under him."
Daniels tipped his cap to running back Ty Chandler, who has been filling in during Nwangwu's absence, saying he's "done an unbelievable job" with the opportunities afforded him.
But it's tough to replace a guy like Nwangwu who has three return TDs in two seasons – including one against the 49ers in 2021.
"We want to try to find a way to get the ball in his hands as many times as we can," Daniels said. "we'll be aggressive back there when it comes – him bringing it out maybe five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10 yards deep, whatever the case may be."
Daniels added Nwangwu has "a little more leeway" at returner than others might be given.
"He's a great decision-maker. He understands and knows what the return is, the ball placement, what's the hang on the kick? There's a lot of factors that really go into it, not [necessarily] just how deep a ball is kicked," Daniels said. "Because you can have a ball that gets kicked 8 yards deep but only has two-and-a-half seconds of hang time. Well, that's a ball we probably want to go ahead and bring out just because the kickoff team is probably still on the minus-40 yard line by the time we catch it. For us, that's almost like the ball getting caught on the goal line.
"When you've got that type of caliber of returner in Kene, you want to be able to give them that access and that leeway," he added. "We trust him back there."
How will Vikings O-line stack up against 49ers D-line? | By Craig Peters
There are multiple metrics that are ranking the Vikings offensive line as trending up.
Although Vikings Head Coach Kevin O'Connell ticked off names at all three levels of the defense, from Bosa to Arik Armstead on the defensive line to Fred Warner and Dre Greenlaw, who "make up maybe the best linebacking combination in the league" to safety Talanoa Hufanga.
"They have impact players, really that you have to account for in multiple areas of their defense, and then they play their scheme really, really well," O'Connell said. "They're not going to do a thousand different things because they're pretty darn successful with what they do and that's what makes them, they play really hard.
"We saw that even last year during joint practices against them. We were able to make some plays, but they're flying around play after play after play," he added. "The effort, the finish, the physicality, they hang their hat on those things, and you've got to try to match that as an offensive football team against them, and they're going to make some plays, but how consistent can you be on those early downs to avoid longer yardage, known passing situations?"
Several offensive linemen will have the benefit of logging reps against multiple returning 49ers players last year in a pair of joint practices, but the group added Javon Hargrave in the offseason and recently acquired Randy Gregory.
The offensive line will be key in helping the Vikings offense have better success on early downs and avoid third-and-longs that disadvantage the group by putting the team in obvious throwing situations.
The Vikings were just 2-for-13 on third downs against the Bears.
Minnesota converted a third-and-5 with a 12-yard pass and a third-and-3 with a 12-yard pass.
The Vikings failed to convert third-and- … 4, 7, 12, 19, 2, 5, 14, 12, 8, 20 and 11.
"We were in far too many [third-and-longs] a week ago, and you hate doing that on the road, but you really hate doing it against a team like San Francsico because they seem to feast in those situations," O'Connell said.