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Vikings Down 49ers with Improvised Touchdown Drive & 2-Point Dive

View games action images as the Vikings take on the 49ers at U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday Night Football.

MINNEAPOLIS —Jerick McKinnon's 108-yard kickoff return sparked the Vikings in the third quarter, and Taylor Heinicke orchestrated an improbable comeback drive in a 32-31 win over the 49ers on Sunday night at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Heinicke made plays with his arm and legs on the drive and combined the pair on the final play of the game, a 2-point conversion attempt. Heinicke scrambled to his right, found running room and reached the ball in the front right corner of the end zone, winning a race inside the pylon and flipping forward.

The play caused a stream of Vikings teammates from the sideline to mob Heinicke, who didn't enter the game until 2:44 remained.

Heinicke completed passes to Cayleb Jones, Nick Truesdell, Isaac Fruechte, Rodney Adams and Stacy Coley during the drive. After Coley drew a pass interference call in the end zone, Terrell Newby powered in from the 1-yard line as regulation ended.

The dramatic ending provided an encore performance to the end of the third quarter when the Vikings scored 14 points and the 49ers scored seven in the final 1:43 of the period.

Adams caught a side-arm pass from Case Keenum and wound his way into the end zone for a 9-yard touchdown to pull the Vikings to a 17-10 score.  

Raheem Mostert, however, converted a third-and-22 with an 87-yard catch-and-run after a short pass from C.J. Beathard to put San Francisco up 24-10 with 49 seconds left in the third quarter.

McKinnon answered with the electric kickoff return, weaving through defenders and kicker Robbie Gould, turning on the jets near the 50-yard line.

The Vikings improved to 2-1 this preseason and 14-2 in exhibition contests under Head Coach Mike Zimmer. The Vikings close the preseason by hosting the Dolphins at 7 p.m. Thursday.

Here's a recap of the first-team offense and defense, as well as a couple of notes on special teams.

First-team offense

The Vikings opened with consecutive negative plays. The first, a pass from Sam Bradford to Dalvin Cook, lost 5. The second, a fumbled exchange between Bradford and Cook led to San Francisco's first sack of the night (by DeForest Buckner) and a loss of 7. The Vikings followed with a 19-yard completion to Laquon Treadwell, but were forced to punt.

The Vikings second possession also was derailed with a negative play when Bradford was sacked by Arik Armstead for a loss of 7 on a first-and-10 from the 50. Bradford was sacked again on third down — this time by Elvis Dumervil — for a loss of 8.

Latavius Murray made his reception and rush in Purple on the Vikings third possession. Murray gained 8 on a pass from Bradford and followed with 3 on the ground. Murray moved the chains again with another gain on second-and-2, but a jet sweep to Adam Thielen lost 1, and consecutive incompletions to Stefon Diggs forced another punt. Diggs also had another significant drop on the Vikings fourth possession.

Minnesota earned a fifth offensive possession with just 56 seconds remaining and started at its own 37 with two timeouts. Bradford made four straight completions, including a 28-yarder to Adam Thielen, but the Vikings were unable to clock the ball before time expired.

Bradford and the Vikings starters did not play in the second half. He finished 17-of-21 for 134 yards with a rating of 93.3 and took three sacks.

First-team defense

The first-team defense struggled out of the gate, allowing touchdowns on the 49ers first two possessions.

San Francisco marched 79 yards in five plays, including catches of 10 and 16 yards by Pierre Garçon and a 46-yard touchdown from Brian Hoyer to Marquise Goodwin.

The 49ers mixed and matched their way down the field on their second possession, which ended with a 24-yard touchdown from Hoyer to Carlos Hyde on an angle route.

Hoyer opened the game 9-of-9 passing for 152 yards and two touchdowns. He did not play in the second half and finished 12-of-17 for 176 yards with a passer rating of 143.3.

Minnesota's defense allowed 21 net yards and forced punts on San Francisco's final three possessions of the first half. The Vikings first-team defense played the first half and limited the 49ers to 2-of-5 on third downs but allowed 188 yards, including 167 through the air.

Special teams

Ryan Quigley and Taylor Symmank each had the opportunity to flip field position early.

Quigley delivered a nice directional effort, pinning the 49ers against the sideline and forcing a fair catch. The punt netted 47 yards.

Symmank also forced a fair catch on his first offering and netted 47.

Marshall Koehn blasted a 58-yard field goal to put the Vikings on the board, but he missed from 47 yards on his second attempt. Koehn added an extra point from a distance of 38 yards in the third quarter after the Vikings committed a false start.

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