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Game Preview: Vikings-49ers

EAGAN, Minn. — The Vikings began the new year with an upset in New Orleans and are seeking another this weekend when they visit the San Francisco 49ers on Saturday for a Divisional round playoff game.

NBC will broadcast the sixth postseason contest between the franchises. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:35 p.m. (CT).

Minnesota claimed the first overtime playoff victory in franchise history and its first road playoff victory since January 2005 with a 26-20 win in New Orleans that stunned the Saints and shunned prognosticators from coast-to-coast.

The reward is a trip to the Bay Area to face the No. 1 overall seed in the NFC to play again as an underdog and this time on short rest.

San Francisco's win over the Los Angeles Rams in Week 16 locked up a playoff berth for the Vikings. The 49ers then claimed the NFC West with a Week 17 triumph at Seattle that went down to the wire.

Head-to-head tiebreakers over Green Bay and New Orleans gave San Francisco (13-3) the top seed. The Packers are the No. 2 seed and will host the fifth-seeded Seahawks on Sunday.

Minnesota made the playoffs for the 30th time in the team's 59 seasons and for the third time in six seasons under Head Coach Mike Zimmer. Sunday's game will be Zimmer's 101st with Minnesota (excludes preseason) and the 51st playoff game in Vikings history.

Minnesota's offense ranked 16th in yards per game (353.5), 10th in yards per play (5.83), sixth in rushing yards per game (133.3), 23rd in passing yards per game (220.2) and eighth in points per game (25.4) in 2019.

San Francisco's offense ranked fourth in the NFL in yards per game (381.1), fifth in yards per play (6.02) and second in rushing yards per game (144.1). The 49ers ranked 13th in passing yards per game (237.0) and second in points per game (29.9).

The Vikings were fifth in the NFL in points against (18.9 per game), 14th in yards allowed per game (341.6), 13th in rushing yards allowed per game (108.0) and 15th in passing yards allowed per game (233.6).

The 49ers ranked eighth in the NFL in points against (19.4 per game), second in yards allowed per game (281.8), 17th in rushing yards allowed per game (112.6) and first in passing yards allowed per game (169.2).


NBC (KARE 11 in the Twin Cities)

Kickoff: 3:35 p.m. (CT) Saturday

Play-by-Play: Al Michaels

Analyst: Cris Collinsworth

Sideline Reporter: Michele Tafoya


Because this is a national broadcast, fans from coast to coast will be able to watch the game on their iOS mobile devices with the VIKINGS APP or VIKINGS MOBILE SITE (Safari browser only).


KFAN 100.3-FM/KTLK 1130-AM in Minneapolis/St. Paul

Play-by-Play: Paul Allen

Analyst: Pete Bercich

Sideline Reporters: Greg Coleman & Ben Leber

Radio Pre-game Show: Mike Mussman | 1:30 p.m. (CT)

KFAN and KTLK serve as the flagship stations for the five-state Vikings Radio Network.


Westwood One Sports

Play-by-Play: Ryan Radtke

Analyst: Tony Boselli

Sideline Reporter: Scott Kaplan

Look back at photos over the course of time featuring games between the Vikings and the 49ers.


Since Minnesota's Week 12 bye, the Vikings have recorded 17 takeaways, six more than the next-closest team (11 by Buffalo in seven games and by Tampa Bay in six games).


The Vikings are seeking multiple wins in a postseason for the first time since January 1988. Coincidentally, the 1987 team accomplished that feat 32 years ago by winning a Wild Card game in New Orleans and upsetting the 49ers in San Francisco in a six-day span.

QB Kirk Cousins finished 2019 with a passer rating of 107.4, which ranked fourth in the NFL this season and as the second-highest by a Vikings QB in any season. He had nine games this season with a passer rating of 100.0 or higher. His previous career best for a season was 101.6 with Washington in 2015.

Cousins ranked fourth in the NFL in completion percentage (69.1) and eighth with 26 touchdown passes in 2019. He set a single-season record for most games with a completion percentage of 80 or higher (five games).

Dalvin Cook rushed for 94 yards on Sunday and became the first Viking to score multiple rushing touchdowns in a playoff game since Adrian Peterson rushed for three scores at New Orleans in the 2009 NFC Championship on Jan. 24, 2010.

Stefon Diggs set a new career-high of 1,130 receiving yards in 2019, giving him back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons for the first time in his career. He was one of three NFL players to reach 1,000 yards on fewer than 100 targets (94).

Adam Thielen recorded the first 100-yard playoff game of his career on Sunday, finishing with seven receptions for a game-high 129 yards. The total ranks seventh by a Vikings receiver in one postseason contest.

The eight rushing touchdowns allowed by the Vikings in 2019 tied for the third-fewest this season.

Danielle Hunter recorded 1.5 sacks on Sunday and forced a fumble by Drew Brees. In the regular season, Hunter matched his single-season career best of 14.5 sacks, which tied for fourth in the NFL in 2019. He became the youngest player (25 years, 40 days) to record 50 career sacks.

Everson Griffen also recorded 1.5 sacks of Brees on Sunday, boosting his career postseason sacks total to 4.5 in five games. He ranks fourth in franchise history behind Carl Eller (10), Alan Page (8.0) and Jim Marshall (7.5).

Eric Kendricks tied for the league lead among linebackers with 12 pass breakups on the season. He also finished the season as Minnesota's leading tackler, extending his streak to five consecutive years, which trails only Scott Studwell and Chad Greenway for the franchise record. Studwell and Greenway led Minnesota for six consecutive seasons.

Anthony Harris tied for the league lead with six interceptions in 2019. He became the first Vikings player to lead the league in interceptions since Brian Russell in 2003. Harris extended his strong campaign into the postseason by picking off Brees and returning the ball 30 yards to set up Minnesota's first touchdown on Sunday.

View photos of the Vikings 53-man roster for the 2019 season.


Minnesota Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Advisor Gary Kubiak and tight ends coach Brian Pariani began their NFL careers with San Francisco.

Vikings Director of Competition Development Mark Uyeyama worked for the 49ers from 2008-16 as an assistant strength and conditioning coach and Director of Human Development.

Joe Woods, the 49ers defensive backs coach/passing game coordinator, coached Vikings defensive backs for eight seasons (2006-13).

San Francisco pass rush specialist Chris Kiffin is the son of former Minnesota assistant coach Monte Kiffin, who coached Vikings linebackers in playoff games against the 49ers after the 1987-89 regular seasons.

49ers LB Elijah Lee was drafted by the Vikings in the seventh round of the 2017 NFL Draft and RB Jerick McKinnon (Injured Reserve) played his first four seasons with Minnesota after his selection in the third round of the 2014 NFL Draft.


The Vikings have five players — Anthony Barr (San Pedro), Eric Kendricks (Fresno), Sean Mannion (Pleasanton), Alexander Mattison (San Bernardino) and Dru Samia (West Sacramento) — from California on their 53-man roster. Pariani (San Francisco) and defensive line coach Andre Patterson (Richmond) also are from California.


Kubiak and Pariani were on the Texans staff with San Francisco Head Coach Kyle Shanahan, Defensive Coordinator Robert Saleh and Special Teams Coordinator Richard Hightower.

Minnesota assistant special teams coach Ryan Ficken and Shanahan coached together at UCLA in 2003.


Vikings G Josh Kline and 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo teamed together with the Patriots.

Minnesota P Britton Colquitt, Kubiak, Offensive Line Coach/Run Game Coordinator Rick Dennison, Pariani and quarterbacks coach Klint Kubiak overlapped with San Francisco WR Emmanuel Sanders and OL Ben Garland in Denver.

Gary Kubiak, Dennison and Pariani were on the Ravens staff during part of 49ers FB Kyle Juszczyk's time with Baltimore. Dennison was Buffalo's offensive coordinator when San Francisco WR Jordan Matthews was with the Bills in 2017.

Vikings K Dan Bailey teamed with 49ers LB Mark Nzeocha in Dallas.

Minnesota Special Teams Coordinator Marwan Maalouf was with the Colts when San Francisco T Michael Person was in Indianapolis.

Vikings RB Ameer Abdullah and T Riley Reiff overlapped with 49ers G Laken Tomlinson and TE Levine Toilolo while with the Lions.

Minnesota QB Kirk Cousins played at Washington with Shanahan as his offensive coordinator and when Hightower was on the coaching staff.


Vikings DT Jaleel Johnson with 49ers QB C.J. Beathard and TE George Kittle at Iowa

Minnesota T Rashod Hill and San Francisco QB Nick Mullens at Southern Miss

Vikings DE Stephen Weatherly with 49ers OL Justin Skule and WR Jordan Matthews at Vanderbilt

Minnesota C Garrett Bradbury and San Francisco DL Kentavius Street at N.C. State

Vikings G Pat Elflein and DT Jalyn Holmes with 49ers DL Nick Bosa at Ohio State

Vikings DE Danielle Hunter and 49ers LB Kwon Alexander at LSU



Kirk Cousins: 2 games (2 starts; 1 with Washington and 1 with Minnesota), 45-of-73 passing, 574 yards, 4 TDs, 1 INT, passer rating of 98.8; 8 rushes for 52 yards and a TD

Stefon Diggs: 1 game (1 start), 3 receptions, 43 yards, TD; 1 rush for 8 yards

Adam Thielen: 1 game (1 start), 6 receptions, 102 yards

Kyle Rudolph: 3 games (3 starts), 11 receptions, 100 yards, 3 TDs


Linval Joseph: 4 games (4 starts), 13 tackles (league stats), 2.0 sacks, FF; 2 tackles and 1 PBU in 1 playoff game

Xavier Rhodes: 2 games (2 starts), 9 tackles (league stats), 1 INT, 1 PBU

Harrison Smith: 3 games (3 starts), 22 tackles (league stats), 1.0 sack, 1 INT, 2 PBU, 1 FR


While with Washington in 2017, Cousins passed for 330 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for a 7-yard touchdown in a 26-24 win over San Francisco. He also won his first start as the Vikings QB in the 2018 season opener.

Rudolph recorded the first two-touchdown game of his career against San Francisco on Sept. 23, 2012.

Diggs and Thielen combined for 145 yards and a score against the 49ers on Sept. 9, 2018.

While with the Giants, Joseph recorded a sack in each of his first two games against the 49ers.

Smith was awarded NFC Defensive Player of the Week after recording seven tackles, a sack, an interception, two tackles for loss and recovering a fumble against San Francisco in Week 1 of 2018.


1. This will be the sixth postseason meeting and 48th overall between the Vikings and 49ers. The franchises are deadlocked at 23-23-1 all-time, which includes a 22-19-1 mark for Minnesota in the regular season and a 1-4 showing in playoff games. The 1987 Vikings upset the 49ers in the Divisional round of the playoffs 36-24 thanks to Anthony Carter posting 227 receiving yards and a dominant day by the defense.

2. In Week 1 of the 1979 season, Ahmad Rashad set a Vikings single-game record with four touchdowns (all receiving) to help Minnesota prevail 28-22.

3. The Vikings overcame a 24-point deficit against the 49ers in a 28-27 win on Dec. 4, 1977, when rookie Tommy Kramer led the largest comeback in franchise history. Kramer replaced Bob Lee, who was filling in for an injured Fran Tarkenton.

Longest Vikings winning streak in series: 5 games (Sept. 15, 1963 through Oct. 24, 1965)

Longest Vikings losing streak in series: 4 games twice (Oct. 15, 1961 through Dec. 2, 1962 and Oct. 30, 1988 through Dec. 30, 1990)