3 Storylines for 49ers-Vikings
On Monday night, the Minnesota Vikings and San Francisco 49ers will face off in a primetime matchup to conclude Week 7.
The two teams sit on opposite sides of the NFC standings, but the Vikings are coming off a win in Week 6 while the 49ers suffered their first loss of the season last weekend. With this Week 7 showdown fast-approaching, here is a look at 3 storylines to follow heading into Monday night.
On both sides, there are some notable injuries that could impact this game.
A week after placing WR Justin Jefferson on injured reserve, the Vikings also placed OLB Marcus Davenport on IR following their victory over Chicago because of a high ankle sprain. Minnesota also listed LG Ezra Cleveland as a DNP on Thursday’s injury report, meaning they could be down a starting offensive lineman for this game.
Meanwhile, the Vikings could also be getting a couple playmakers back on the field for this game. RB Kene Nwangwu was activated this week and did not appear on the first injury report of the week. The explosive kick returner has been one of the best at the position since he got into the NFL, returning three kicks for touchdowns over his first two seasons.
WR Jalen Nailor also had his practice window opened this week and was listed as a limited participant on Thursday. The 2022 sixth-round pick is a great deep threat in the passing game, and he caught nine passes for 179 yards and a touchdown last season.
For the 49ers, they had multiple starters listed as DNPs on their first injury report of the week. All five of LG Aaron Banks, LB Dre Greenlaw, RB Christian McCaffrey, WR Deebo Samuel, and LT Trent Williams were unable to participate on Thursday.
Vikings Home Losing Streak
The Minnesota Vikings have exclusively found success on the road this season. They are 2-1 in games away from Minneapolis this year, but inside U.S. Bank Stadium, they are sitting at 0-3 to begin the year.
If the Vikings lose to the 49ers on Monday, their home losing streak will extend to four games.
It has been over a decade since Minnesota lost four consecutive games at home. The last time it happened was 2011 when they finished 3-13 and actually finished the year with five consecutive home losses. For a team that is coming off a 2022 season when they went 13-4, this would be a very disappointing outcome.
A Big Test for the Vikings Offense
Regardless of if some of the 49ers starters miss Monday’s game, this will serve as a massive test for a Vikings offense that has been extremely inconsistent this season. San Francisco is allowing the fewest points per game in the league this year, and it is coupled by the fifth-fewest yards allowed per game.
In terms of PFF rankings, the 49ers defense has been given the best grades for overall defense, pass-rush, and pass coverage. Minnesota has relied heavily on their passing game all season, with the second-most pass attempts in the entire NFL. Without Justin Jefferson, the Vikings are going to need some of their other pass-catchers to step up in a big way to pull off this upset.
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Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of PurplePTSD.com. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.