Two weeks ago, we started this blog this with the words "They're back," as in Vikings back in town, ready or not.
This week, here at the Metrodome, the theme is "he's back," as in Mr. Straight Cash Homey, Randy Moss, No. 84. Outside the stadium, we had round one of "Railgating" along 5th Street (great idea, by the way, Mayor Rybak):
We also had fans in both Vikings purple and 49ers red, sporting the Mossy wardrobes:
As for where this in-game blog is coming from, The View From Section 123. In other words, the Auxiliary Press Box (the old baseball press box). Lookee:
With that, time for our pithy observances. How many? How about dot, dot, dot ... infinity?
11:48: Randy Moss, No. 48, comes out to robust... yet mixed... applause.
11:57: Video tribute to NFL Films genius, Steve Sabol. Serious goosebumps.
12:03: Harvin returns kickoff to the 18. Game on.
12:08: Vikings move into field goal range with 15-yard face-mask penalty against S.F.
12:15: VIKINGS 7, 49ers 0: Minnesota draws first blood with 1-yard TD pass to TE Kyle Rudolph on 4th down.
(Check out the video highlight, right here)
12:22: First pass of the afternoon headed to Moss, goes right through his paws. Crowd giddy.
12:23: Crowd goes ape when Alex Smith is sacked by Chad Greenway, killing 49ers initial drive.
12:27: Ponder stretches it out, hitting Harvin for a 24-yard strike -- out to the 44-yard-line. But drive stalls right there.
12:29: Kluwe cranks out 35-yard punt. 35 yards? Uh, in this game, we have to Vote No on that performance...
12:41: 49ers putting together solid drive to start second quarter. Smith tosses one to Moss in the end-zone, but it's over Randy's head.
12:40: VIKINGS 7, 49ers 3: San Francisco gets on board with 29-yard FG from David Akers.
12:47: BEST TWEET SO FAR: From Peter Welle: "The #Vikings awful 2-toned collars make them look like they're playing with their shirts unbuttoned like Burt Reynolds."
12:49: Christian Ponder scrambles for a first down! Scrambles!
12:54: Huge pass to Aromashadu to move the chains on 3rd and 11.
12:55: And then Ponder scrambles for a touchdown. Scrambles!!
12:56: VIKINGS 14, 49ers 3: Ponder, playing angry, gives Minnesota an 11-point lead.
1:04: On a third-and-five late in the second quarter, Smith hits Vernon Davis for the first down. 49ers are cold-blooded. Vikings hunting for another big stop.
1:07: In Twitterverse, no respect for Purple, despite being up 14-3. From Notch17: "If the #Vikings played in the CFL they'd go undefeated."
1:15: Akers' 43-yard field goal attempt is blocked by Letroy Guion with :52 seconds left in half. That's a big stop.
1:22: VIKINGS 17, 49ers 3: Blair Walsh hits 52-yard FG as time runs out in the half.
1:37: Disaster greets the home crowd at the start of the second half as Kyle Williams runs the kickoff back 94 yards to the Vikings 14-yard-line. That is called a "special teams letdown."
1:38: On fourth-and-two, delay of game on S.F. Crowd too loud, or were the 49ers looking for the Vikings to do something dumb? Nevertheless, Vikings hold.
1:36: VIKINGS 17, 49ers 6: Akers hits from 29-yards to make it an 11-point game again. That's called "the defense picking up the special teams."
1:46: Excellent punt from Kluwe. 51-yarder. We Vote Yes on that performance.
1:50: Randy Moss catches one up the middle. Up the middle!! (Is this the same guy?) It's also a 12-yard gainer, and the 49ers look like they're ready to start playing for real. Cat: San Francisco. Mouse: Minnesota.
1:54: Vernon Davis catches a 20-yard pass at the 1.
1:52: VIKINGS 17, 49ers 13: Smith to Davis for the touchdown from the 1-yard-line.
2:00: Vikings attendance: 57,288. Enough to air the game on TV in the Twin Cities, but not a sellout.
2:03: Weird play. Adrian fumbles. Harvin recovers. 49ers nailed with a 15-yard personal foul. Vikes on the move!
2:06: Adrian Peterson powers his way to a key first down. Have we said "BEAST" yet today?
2:07: Refs nail 49ers with another 15-yard penalty for roughing TE Kyle Rudolph.
2:13: VIKINGS 24, 49ers 13: Ponder hits Rudolph again, this one from 2-yards out. Vikes lead by 11 with 14:17 left.
2:18: Another buzzkill following the touchdown as San Fran's Kyle Williams returns it to midfield. Not-so-special teams play by the Vikings.
2:21: Fumble by 49ers' Frank Gore, which Vikings recover. At first, the refs said his knee was down, but after a Vikings' challenge, and another look-see...it was reversed. Vikings fans have nothing but good things to say at this point. Vikings take over the ball on the 50-yard-line.
2:26: Mind-boggling 8-yard run by the whirling dervish that is Adrian Peterson. Amazing. But Minnesota drive stalls after that. With 13 minutes to go, S.F. gets the ball back, down by 11.
2:27: Sweet Tweet from MikeyWaldo: "Kyle Rudolph Trending in US!!"
2:33: Vikings stop drive of San Fran 45-yard line. Big tackle by Greenway set up the 3rd and long. But 49ers punt pins MInnesota to its 2-yard line. Adrian Peterson time.
2:40: Peterson rips one off for 23-yards. That beast.
2:41: Heart-attack time. Ponder almost intercepted on 3rd and 8. Kluwe in to punt.
2:44: Replacement refs nail 49ers with another face-mask penalty. Seems like S.F. is getting nailed today. Hope there is no replacement-ref "lets even it out" calls in the final 6:45. Just sayin'...
2:46: Big 3rd and 6 with 6:41 left. Crowd jazzed. Incomplete pass. 49ers have to punt.
2:47: With 6:28, playoff teams control ball here and take some time off the clock and make it impossible for foes to recover. We'll see what the Vikings do...
2:49: On first carry of the game, Toby Gerhart rushes it for 9 yards and a first down. Not bad. A few more first downs, and this one is over.
2:51: Percy Harvin catches a Ponder pass, and takes it down to the 35. Time out, soon-to-be not undefeated 49ers.
2:53: With 3:29 left. San Fran takes final time out. They know it's over. (Barring a miracle finish, of course).
2:59: Gerhart fumble recovered by 49ers. Miracle No. 1 in book. 49ers take over on their own 38-yard line with 3:29 to go.
3:03: Josh Robinson makes it a moot point. Interception. Vikings just a few minutes away form victory formation.
3:05: Not so fast! Another alleged Vikings fumble! Miracle No. 2 coming up? Nope. Replacement refs get it right.
3:06: Roseville Pee-Wee football puts out an APB for missing referees. Finds them on field at Metrodome.
3:11: Toby Gebhart actually does fumble (Miracle No. 2), and San Francisco has the ball back at it's own 43 with 1:47 left.
3:12: Sacko for Jared Allen. Fumble. Vikings get ball back. GAME OVER.
3:13: FINAL: VIKINGS 24, 49ers 13.