By HCR Staff | Jan. 11, 2020
Today’s NFC divisional matchup between the Minnesota Vikings and San Francisco 49ers offers two teams that are similar on both sides of the ball.
Here’s what we’ll keep our eye on.
Vikings defensive linemen Danielle Hunter and Everson Griffen vs. 49ers interior offensive guard Mike Person and center Ben Garland. In last week’s Vikings victory against the New Orleans Saints, head coach Mike Zimmer employed a successful tactic by moving talented defensive linemen Danielle Hunter and Everson Griffen inside against the Saints’ interior OL, which includes rookie offensive coordinator Erik McCoy. The strategy worked, as Hunter and Griffen were able to get an interior push, and that disrupted quarterback Drew Brees’ rhythm. The 49ers’ interior offensive line is far less talented than the Saints’. Backup center Ben Garland is especially vulnerable, and OG Mike Person is far less physically talented than Hunter and Griffen. We’ll be curious if Zimmer deploys this same strategy.
Can the San Francisco secondary communicate? Over the last month, the 49ers secondary has had significant breakdowns. They have had to juggle some of their personnel due to injuries, and that has caused significant communication errors. Today, the 49ers will be facing a very talented and deep receiving group. We expect to see some early double moves from the Vikings receivers designed to test the discipline of the 49ers’ defense.
Can the Minnesota linebackers unit avoid over-pursuing? The 49ers zone run concepts are designed to get the defense flowing aggressively one direction while exposing the back side. It will be imperative for the Vikings’ linebacker group to avoid over pursuing and preventing back side throws and runs. If the Vikings linebackers keep their poise early, this will bode well for them. If, however, they come out too aggressively, 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan will hurt them as the game progresses.