The 1-1 Minnesota Vikings host the 2-0 San Francisco 49ers Sunday at Metrodome. The big headline is the return of Randy Moss, who last set foot on the Metrodome turf in 2010 during his brief return stint with the Vikings. Moss has seen limited action with the 49ers but remains a legitimate downfield threat. The 49ers have multiple receiving weapons for QB Alex Smith to target, including WR Michael Crabtree and TE Vernon Davis, and can still run the ball very well with Frank Gore. San Francisco boasts a dominating defense led by DE Justin Smith and linebackers Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman. They also have a strong secondary and an emerging edge pass rusher in Aldon Smith.
The Vikings are led by Christian Ponder who after two games is #1 in the NFL in completion percentage. This stat has been inflated thanks to conservative playcalling emphasizing short, low-risk passes to Percy Harvin over downfield tries. Don’t look for that to change against San Francisco who should have no problem locking down the Vikings’ outside receivers. This puts the onus on a Viking run game that has been less-than-dominating so far in 2012 despite the return of Adrian Peterson.
Defensively, the Vikings will try to shore up a porous secondary that was burned in the 2-minute offense for multiple big plays last week by the Indianapolis Colts. The pass rush has been very good at times but not consistent enough to prevent teams from moving the ball down the field in crucial situations. The Vikings will be further hampered in their pass defense by the loss of Erin Henderson to a concussion. Starting MLB Jasper Brinkley will take Henderson’s place in nickel while Marvin Mitchell replaces Henderson in the base 4-3. DE D’Aundre Reed is also out. Otherwise the Vikings are healthy.
Kick-off is 12 PM CT
The game will be televised in the Twin Cities on FOX KMSP-9 and on DirecTV channel 706.
The game will be broadcast on radio on KFAN 100.3 and across the Vikings radio network. Full list.
The game will be available on Sirius radio channel 117.