Continuing the opponent breakdown series, let’s move on with the third opponent
The 49ers will be in the Metrodome to see the Minnesota Vikings in week three.
2011 Record: 3-13 (4th in NFC North)
Last meeting: Vikings won 27-24 on 9/24/09
2012 schedule: Week 3 @ Minnesota
Top 3 best players: RB Adrian Peterson, DE Jared Allen, WR Percy Harvin
Notable draft picks: OT Matt Kalil, S Harrison Smith, CB Josh Robinson, WR Jarius Wright, K Blair Walsh
Notable offseason additions: WR Jerome Simpson, TE John Carlson
Notable offseason departures: OLB Kenny Onatolu, OG Anthony Herrera, S Tyrell Johnson
The Minnesota Vikings are coming off one of their worst seasons since 1984. This was the first time in their 51 year history that they went winless in the division.
The Vikings are a team in transition mode with head coach Leslie Frazier finishing his first full season with the team. He took over Brad Childress who was fired in the middle of the 2010 season.
Last season they tried to upgrade at quarterback by trading for Donovan McNabb, but it ended up not working out and 2011 first-round draft pick Christian Ponder ended up being their QB when the season ended. Ponder finished the season with 1853 passing yards and a 13-13 touchdown to interception ratio in 10 games for the Vikings. The one positive from the Vikings offense was WR Percy Harvin. He had 967 receiving yards and six touchdowns with two QBs throwing to him.
The running game of the Vikings was lowered with an injury to Adrian Peterson in week 10 against the Oakland Raiders. Former second-round pick Toby Gerhart filled in for Peterson with a respectable average of almost five yards per carry. Because of Gerhart, the Vikings still finished with a top 5 rushing offense in the league.
The Vikings were poor in pass defense, ranked 26th in the league in yards given up. They had a respectable rush defense good to be ranked 11th. The most notable defensive player for the Vikings is four-time pro bowler Jared Allen. He led the league in sacks with 22 total. Because of this, the Vikings pass rushing unit was tied for first in terms of sacks with 50, tied with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Overall, the Vikings had several holes to fill and were able to use 10 draft picks to help. The offensive line needed pass protection help and OT Matt Kalil hopes to improve this. S Harrison Smith will upgrade one of the worst secondaries in the league. They filled alot of needs in the offseason, but are still in a rebuilding mode with hope for second year QB Christian Ponder to develop.
If the 49ers passing game improves, they should have a field day on their secondary. The Vikings offense is also struggling when it comes to the passing game. The defense should not have a problem stopping Ponder or any receiver that comes their way. As long as they stop Adrian Peterson and their running game, this is expected to be an easy win.