The Minnesota Vikings came into their NFC Divisional Playoff game with the San Francisco 49ers with momentum on their side after scoring an improbable victory over the New Orleans Saints. Alas, the Vikings could not keep things going as they were blasted by San Francisco by a score of 27-10 on Saturday afternoon.
For the second straight week, the Vikings opened the game with the worst possible scenario. After Minnesota went three-and-out on their first drive, the 49ers took the ball and drove right down the field on the arm of Jimmy Garoppolo, who found Kendrick Bourne on a touchdown pass to put San Francisco up 7-0 with very little resistance.
The Vikings had a quick rebuttal with a seven-play, 79-yard drive that was capped off by a 41-yard touchdown pass from Kirk Cousins to Stefon Diggs and the defense fed off the momentum, getting to Garoppolo and forcing the 49ers off the field to get the ball back to the offense.
But the Vikings were unable to stop the 49ers pass rush with Arik Armstead getting to Cousins and thwarting another Minnesota drive.
Although the Vikings appeared to get a turnover on a Deebo Samuel fumble, it was overturned on a review and the 49ers proceeded to score on a Tevin Coleman touchdown plunge to re-take the lead at 14-7.
The Vikings next drive stalled out, but Eric Kendricks picked off Garoppolo to give the ball back to Minnesota with prime field position late in the second quarter. Unfortunately, the Vikings couldn't do anything with it as the offense stalled and they settled for a 39-yard field goal from Dan Bailey to go into the locker room at halftime down 14-10.
Killed in the second half
The 49ers took the ball in the second half and drove down the field after being aided by an unnecessary roughness penalty from Holton Hill on the kickoff. San Francisco marched red zone before settling for a Robbie Gould field goal to take a 17-10 lead.
The game took a turn for the worse from there with Cousins throwing an interception to Richard Sherman and the 49ers blowing the game open with another Coleman touchdown to go ahead 24-10.
The Vikings offense continued to struggle from there with just 106 yards of offense coming outside of Diggs' 41-yard touchdown.
With a muffed punt by Marcus Sherels leading to another Gould field goal to put San Francisco up 27-10, the dream of mimicking the 1987 playoff run, which included upset victories over the Saints and 49ers, was officially over.
Minnesota has several questions coming into the offseason. With offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski's name being mentioned as a head coaching candidate for the Cleveland Browns, the Vikings may have to reinvent themselves on offense once again in 2020. That said, Stefanski will likely have had to impress the heck out of the Browns in his interview after the display showcased on national TV Saturday.
Minnesota also needs to fix a secondary that sprung multiple leaks and prepare to eventually replace aging defenders on the defensive side of the ball.
Regardless, Saturday's demise in San Francisco was a disappointing end for a team whose Super Bowl window is slowly beginning to close.