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49ers Vs. Vikings: Mismatch of the Week, 49ers Secondary vs. Vikings Receivers


It's probably that time to start giving the 49ers secondary the recognition they deserve. In Weeks 1 and 2, they played mistake-free, technique football against two of the better aerial teams in the league. Not only were they dealing with top-flight quarterbacks, but they had to match-up against the likes of Calvin Johnson, Jordy Nelson and Greg Jennings.

In Week 3, the San Francisco 49ers will go on the road to face the Minnesota Vikings. This team is pretty much the polar opposite of what they've faced in 2012. This team has struggled to find an offensive production through the air, as they've been able to depend on running back Adrian Peterson for half a decade. There are really no dominant threats that partake in their passing game.

For this reason, I've concluded that in this edition's Mismatch of the Week, we will have the 49ers secondary versus the Vikings receivers. For more on this match-up in Week 3, please continue after the jump.

In the first two weeks, I've come away thoroughly impressed with the secondary in it's entirety.

Now, typically a live game day broadcast does not allow fans to see much of the secondary - however, after watching years and years of football, the opposing team's QB can actually be quite telling of how good a secondary is.

In Weeks 1 and 2, we've watched Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford hold onto the football, go through their reads and just look stumped. It turns out, it's the 49ers secondary causing the confusion and hesitation.

The 49ers defensive backs do a very good job absorbing space downfield -- it's where they are collectively positioned that closes the throwing windows for quarterbacks. That's why it's not uncommon to see the opposing team's passer hang on to the ball or get rid of it out bounds, because the play was busted before it even got a chance to start.

When it comes to coverage, they have been consistently playing at a high level. There seems to be a better overall understanding of the system and less mistakes. They play so tight on their coverages that they always allow themselves a chance to get a hand on the football.

So, for receivers like Percy Harvin, it's going to be tough sledding in Week 3 -- he could seriously struggle to get open.

But Harvin is also a big-play athlete because of his ability to make guys miss and shed tackles. That's something else that's made the Packers and Lions receivers so notorious, that they can make something out of nothing. What's unfortunate for Harvin (and the other receivers) is that, fundamentally, the 49ers are far and away the best team in the league, with an emphasis on tackling.

Even on paper, it's ugly; certainly in favor of the 49ers:

MIN: Percy Harvin, Michael Jenkins, Devin Aromashodu, Stephen Burton and Jerome Simpson.

SF: Carlos Rogers, Tarell Brown, Chris Culliver, Perrish Cox and Tremaine Brock.

And with the safeties over the top -- Dashon Goldson and Donte Whitner -- lending a helping hand and disguising coverages, it's going to be a very long day for the Vikings passing game.

Truthfully, I'm expecting quite a bit of three-and-outs on Minnesota's part. These Niners defensive backs are great at getting their hands on the football. And at the end of the day, high passer rating or not, Christian Ponder is still an inexperienced quarterback in the NFL.

Follow @DeSimone80