Chad Greenway (Brace Hemmelgarn/US Presswire)
Vikings players and coaches heard about how physical the 49ers were all week. They responded by being the more physical and more disciplined team on the field Sunday, spurring the upset.
The Vikings heard about the physical aspect of the 49ers all week long. In fact, one question during the week irked the normally docile Frazier, although you wouldn’t have known it when it was asked.
“We were talking about the physicality of their team and you said, ‘They do a great job of running the ball and stopping the run. Is that the template that you guys are aspiring to?’” Frazier said in response to a question on Sunday. “I didn’t share with you, but I shared with our team – that burned me up because I really feel like here we have set the template on how to run the ball, how to defend the run. I wanted our team to know that there are doubts about the physicality of our football team and our guys responded. We have a lot of guys with a lot of pride.”
San Francisco RB Frank Gore still averaged 5.3 yards per carry, but the 49ers only went to him 12 times. The Vikings, meanwhile, gave Adrian Peterson the ball 25 times, despite a 3.4-yard average.
“There were a couple I wish that I could have back that were right there. Maybe 50, 60 yards,” Peterson said. “But we were playing against the number one defense so you expect guys to make plays. Patrick Willis, he’s a hell of a player. I almost gave him a concussion a couple of times, snapping back his helmet after he tackled me and kept me from a big run. We knew we just had to continue to pound.”
When it was done, the Vikings had 344 net yards on offense while holding the 49ers to 280.
“The fact of the matter is we knew what they were going to do – they were going to come in and try to pound our faces in and the fact of the matter is we gave it back to them,” DE Brian Robison said. “That is not being cocky, that is not being arrogant. We saw some things they said about Detroit after the game last week, saying how they basically smashed their faces in and things like that. We are not going to say that. The fact of the matter is we brought our lunch (pail) today. We did what we had to do to earn our money and come out with the victory.”
Chad Greenway led the Vikings with 13 tackles and two sacks.
The Vikings entered the game as the 27th ranked team in the AP Pro32 Power Rankings, while the 49ers were first.
“That’s a big win. It validates the confidence that we have as a staff in our players,” Frazier said. “It should be something that hopefully we can build on the rest of the season because there’s no question that is a very good football team. To come home and defend our home turf the way we did at Mall of America Field, that’s a big deal.”
Near the end of the first half, the Vikings defense came up with a stop that had eluded them in the Indianapolis game at the end of the first half and regulation.
The 49ers got the ball with about 5 minutes to play and drove down to Minnesota’s 25-yard line, where they set up for a 43-yard field goal, but Letroy Guion blocked the attempt, the second blocked kick for the Vikings this season.
Ponder got the ball with 52 seconds left and after 33 yards of passing was in position for Blair Walsh. Walsh nailed the 52-yard field goal to give the Vikings a 17-3 halftime lead.
“That was huge. It was a big turnaround for us,” Frazier said. “… That was a huge swing for us because that’s demoralizing to drive the ball the way they did and get position and come away with no points then we get the ball back and get points. That’s hard. That was a big sequence for our football team.”
Walsh’s 52-yard field goal gave him three straight games with field goals of 50 yards or more, a Vikings record. But he was also the first rookie in NFL history to kick a 50-yard field in each of his first three games.
Rookie Josh Robinson helped thwart one of the 49ers’ late scoring attempts when he intercepted an Alex Smith pass with 2:18 to play. Not only was it the first interception of the season for the Vikings, but it was also the first interception that Smith threw in 249 consecutive passes.
“It was awesome. Just big, bright eyes. Like a deer in front of the headlights I was so happy,” Robinson said.
“It’s a big momentum. That’s going to give our DBs a lot of confidence that we needed right now. That’s something we needed right now. We got it, beat a good team. They came, they fought, We fought as well. We ended up winning.”
The 49ers tried to get Randy Moss involved in the game early, but he ended up being a non-factor. At least two times, Moss was open and was overthrown, including once in the end zone.
“I don’t know if it’s a matter of it being him, but we were leaving too much out there,” Smith said. “Randy and I need to connect better. But a lot of the times you can let a ball go but it felt good.”
Moss was targeted six times and had three catches for 27 yards.
“He stayed positive the whole game. We didn’t have the ball that much in the first half. We got to hit those,” Smith said. “You never know how many times you will have the ball.”
Moss refused to discuss his playing time after the game.
Mistral Raymond looked to suffer a serious ankle injury, but the Vikings were waiting to find out more on the extent of the injury.
Jared Allen was dealing with neck spasms that started in the second quarter. He was out for several plays at the start of the fourth quarter and even played some left defensive end (he’s usually on the right side) upon his return.
“You guys saw us take him out of the game late and the only reason we did that was because he was having neck spasms,” Frazier said. “We had to do that and try to keep him to where we could use him in a crucial situation and boy did it work out. That play he made at the end was vintage Jared Allen.”
While San Francisco was penalized six times for 60 yards, including two personal foul penalties on Minnesota’s final touchdown drive, the Vikings had only one penalty for 10 yards the entire game.
“To come away from the game with one penalty after we emphasized all week the importance of having to play against ourselves, just very proud of our players,” Frazier said.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.