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San Francisco 49ers @ Minnesota Vikings: A Prospector's Guide

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We return with the newest Prospector's Guide.  This is a particularly interesting matchup in Week 3, and one might say a showdown of sorts.  The 2-0 49ers travel to Minnesota to face the 2-0 Vikings in a battle for NFC supremacy!  Ok, maybe that's exaggerating it a bit much.  However, the winner of this game will definitely be getting a lot of buzz at 3-0.  I would actually think the 49ers would generate more buzz given that it would be a big road victory and not many folks (including yours truly) see 3-0 in this team's future.  If they do pull it out, big props to ProfessorBigelow for going with his heart in the early predictions.  We'll revisit those predictions at the quarter turn after week 4, but for now we're both on the money with our 2-0 predictions.

The 49ers travel to Minnesota for the first time since 2003 to play the Vikings in what will be the 44th contest between the two teams, dating back to 1961. San Francisco holds a 22-20-1 advantage over Minnesota in the series. The Vikings won the last contest in 2007 at Candlestick Park, 27-7.

Last week, San Francisco defeated Seattle, 23-10, at Candlestick Park. In that game, RB Frank Gore rushed for 207 yards on 16 carries, which included touchdown carries of 79 and 80 yards. San Francisco’s defense limited the Seahawks to 10 points after allowing only 16 points a week prior against the Cardinals. The 26 points allowed rank 5th in the NFL after two games, and the 148 points allowed over the last nine games rank 4th in the NFL during that time span.

The 49ers have won seven of their last nine games, dating back to 2008. With a win last week, Hill improved his career record as a starter to 9-3, which includes a perfect 6-0 record when playing at home.  Since head coach Mike Singletary took over the 49ers midway through.

49ers-Vikings Connections
Coaches

• 49ers head coach Mike Singletary and Vikings defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier were teammates with the Chicago Bears, including on their Super Bowl XX Championship team.
• 49ers defensive coordinator Greg Manusky and Vikings tight ends coach Jimmie Johnson were teammates with the Washington Redskins and Kansas City Chiefs. Manusky was Vikings LB Ben Leber’s position coach with the San Diego Chargers.
• 49ers tight ends coach Pete Hoener and Vikings defensive line coach Karl Dunbar coached together on the Chicago Bears staff in 2004.
• 49ers wide receivers/senior asst. coach Jerry Sullivan coached at Ohio State with Vikings linebackers coach Fred Pagac in 1991.
• 49ers secondary coach Vance Joseph coached at Colorado with Vikings running backs coach Eric Bieniemy.
• 49ers WR Arnaz Battle played for the Fighting Irish when Vikings quarterbacks coach Kevin Rogers was the offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach for Notre Dame.

Players
FORMER 49ERS - K Ryan Longwell entered the NFL in 1997 as an undrafted free agent with the 49ers … Wide receivers coach George Stewart coached in San Francisco for seven seasons (1996-2002) and was a part of five playoff teams … Offensive line coach Pat Morris spent seven seasons (1997-2003) on the 49ers coaching staff and was part of four playoff teams.

FORMER VIKINGS - QB Shaun Hill played for the Vikings for four seasons (2002-05) after signing with the team as an undrafted free agent … Defensive coordinator Greg Manusky played linebacker for the Vikings from 1991-93.

VIKINGS NOR CAL CONNECTIONS - K Ryan Longwell played at the University of California – Berkeley from 1993-96 … S Eric Frampton was a standout at Oak Grove High in San Jose, CA.

TEXAS TWO-STEP – 49ers CB Tarell Brown patrolled the defensive secondary alongside Vikings CB Cedric Griffin at Texas from 2003-05.

BUCKEYE! - 49ers CB Nate Clements and Vikings CB Antoine Winfield were teammates for a season at Ohio State.  The two went on to play together with the Buffalo Bills from 2001-03.

TERP TANDEMS - 49ers QB Shaun Hill, Vikings LB E.J. Henderson and FB Jeff Dugan were teammates at the University of Maryland. 49ers TE Vernon Davis also played with Vikings FS Madieu Williams from 2003-04.

Series Highlights
Matchups: 43
Series Record: 49ers lead series 22-20-1
49ers Away Record vs. Vikings: Vikings lead series 12-9
First Meeting: 11/26/61, 49ers win, 38-28, at Minnesota
Last Meeting: 12/9/07, Vikings win, 27-7, at San Francisco
Current Streak: Lost 1
Longest 49ers Win Streak: 4 (10/15/61-12/2/62; 10/30/88-12/30/90)
Longest Vikings Win Streak: 5 (9/15/63-10/24/65)
Most 49ers Points: 51 (12/8/84): 51-7, at San Francisco
Most Vikings Points: 45 (9/29/63), 45-14, at Minnesota
49ers Shutouts: None
Vikings Shutouts: None

MINNESOTA 27, SAN FRANCISCO 7
At San Francisco, CA, December 9, 2007

The Minnesota Vikings jumped to a 27-0 halftime lead and held on for a 27-7 victory over the San Francisco 49ers at Monster Park. Turnovers once again plagued the 49ers with five giveaways (four fumbles and one interception) that resulted in 10 Minnesota points.  After yielding 226 total yards in the first half, the 49ers defense held Minnesota to just 54 total yards and just six yards rushing in the final two quarters.  Minnesota entered the game with the top ranked rushing attack in the NFL behind NFL-leader RB Adrian Peterson. The 49ers defense held Peterson to just three yards on 14 attempts. The game got off to an inauspicious start for San Francisco.

On the first play from scrimmage TE Vernon Davis was called for a false start penalty. On the next play, DT Kevin Williams tipped and intercepted a QB Trent Dilfer pass and returned it 18 yards for a touchdown to take a quick 7-0 lead. The Vikings scored on four of their seven first half possessions to build their 27-0 halftime lead. Minnesota’s big first half was aided by a RB Frank Gore fumble deep inside San Francisco territory that led to a field goal, and an 84-yard touchdown run by RB Chester Taylor. Two 55-yard kickoff returns by RB Maurice Hicks and a fumble recovery at the Minnesota 28-yard-line allowed the 49ers to start three first half drives inside Minnesota territory. Despite the good field position, the 49ers did not come away with any points.

The 49ers had three drives into Minnesota territory in the second half that all resulted in turnovers. Dilfer took a shot to his head on a fourth-down attempt that was stopped short at the Minnesota nine-yard line with 29 seconds left to play in the first half and did not return to the game. QB Shaun Hill saw the first significant action of his six-year NFL career. Hill, who finished 22-of-28 for 180 yards, completed six-of-seven pass attempts on his first series and capped the drive with a five-yard touchdown pass to WR Arnaz Battle.

2009 Statistics

49ERS (rank) VIKINGS (rank)
2-0 (1st NFCW) Record 2-0 (1st NFCN)
21.5 (12th) Points per game 30.5 (4th)
291.0 (26th) Total Offense 287.5 (27th)
138.5 (9th) Rushing Offense 168.5 (2nd)
152.5 (30th) Passing Offense 119.0 (32nd)
33:04 (8th) Possession Avg 31:29 (11th)
13.0 (4th) Points allowed/gm 16.5 (8th)
291.0 (7th) Total Defense 266.5 (4th)
53.0 (3rd) Rushing Defense 109.0 (15th)
238.0 (20th) Passing Defense 157.5 (5th)
4 (t-12th) Sacks 7 (t-3rd)
48.1 (8th) Punting Avg (Gross) 40.0 (28th)
+2 (t-7th) Turnover Differential +4 (t-2nd)