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Predicting the Outcome of the 49ers-Vikings Game

Most fans expect the 49ers to stomp Minnesota by running the ball at will and beating up Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins.

49ers fans seem to take the Vikings lightly.

Most fans expect the 49ers to stomp Minnesota by running the ball at will and beating up Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins. But fans expected the 49ers would do the same to the Packers before they played each other Week 3, and the 49ers didn’t blow them out. That game was extremely close, high-scoring, and the 49ers lost at the buzzer.

This game could be similar.

For starters, the Vikings just beat the Packers last week. Impressive. And sure, the Vikings run defense has given up a whopping 4.8 yards per carry this season. But the Cardinals have given up 4.7 yards per carry and the 49ers lost to them twice. 

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If the Vikings load the box on defense and take an early lead, Kyle Shanahan will abandon his run game — that’s his pattern. And the Vikings can load the box, because they don’t have to worry about Jimmy Garoppolo throwing deep. And they typically defend him quite well. In two career starts against Minnesota, Garoppolo has thrown four interceptions and his passer rating is 55. So he could struggle again.

Cousins could struggle if the 49ers harass him the way they did in the playoffs two years ago, but the 49ers pass rush isn’t as good as it was back then, because DeForest Buckner is gone and Dee Ford is out. The pass rush used to be a three-headed monster, but now it’s just Nick Bosa. He can’t beat the Vikings by himself. He’ll need help.

And the 49ers have no one in their secondary who can cover Justin Jefferson. And the Vikings will throw it to him downfield, because they have a quarterback who’s unafraid to throw the deep ball, unlike the 49ers.

The 49ers’ weakness at cornerback and inability to cover Jefferson will doom them, just as their inability to cover Davante Adams doomed them against the Packers this season.

Final score prediction: 49ers 27, Vikings 30.