3. Kirk Cousins will be held to under 200 yards passing
Monday’s game will mark the second game without Justin Jefferson, who will miss the next three games due to a hamstring injury. If the first game of the experiment was any indication, it’s that the Vikings will also struggle to move the ball against the 49ers, who have a full defense at their disposal.
The 49ers have played a zone-based defense similar to the one the Vikings have deployed since Kevin O’Connell’s arrival in 2022. With the “Fangio 6” serving as a shell, San Francisco is allowing a first down on just 22 percent of plays and 5.6 yards per coverage target this season.
This would have been a challenge for the Vikings even if Jefferson was healthy, but became an albatross with Jefferson on the sidelines. The primetime narrative also continues to hang over Cousins as well with an 11-19 record but a 96.0 quarterback rating in primetime games during his career.
While the primetime storyline may be overblown, Cousins’s lack of weapons and the 49ers' defense are very relevant reasons why the Vikings’ passing attack could struggle on Monday night.