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Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Fred Warner on 49ers stopping Vikings RB Dalvin Cook: ‘We took care of business’

Jan 11, 2020 at 6:59 PM--

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan admitted to the media his team was set on being the one to get at least 30 rushes in the NFC divisional round of the playoffs on Saturday, not the Minnesota Vikings.

Turns out, the Niners had 47 attempts. The Vikings? Just 10.

This was a major piece to San Francisco's 27-10 victory, which ended Minnesota's season and now propels the 49ers into the NFC Championship game for the first time since 2014. And with both the Niners and Vikings wanting to establish the run game, it's clear Shanahan's squad did much better at bottling up the opponent on the ground than Minnesota.

Stopping Vikings running back Dalvin Cook was priority No. 1 for San Francisco. And it was awfully successful. A week after Cook rushed for 94 yards and two touchdowns in the Vikings' Wild Card win over the New Orleans Saints, the 49ers bottled him up for a mere 18 yards rushing on nine carries. On top of that, Cook was only able to add 8 yards on six catches.

Yes, 26 net yards from Cook. That was it.

"We knew they were going to attack us with the run game," defensive tackle DeForest Buckner told reporters after the game. "We knew they were going to try us early. We had to shut it down early to make it the game we wanted to make it."

Buckner and a number of other 49ers players pointed out how the Vikings defense felt almost the entirely opposite way in the second half, visibly showing frustration, while the Niners were making the situation more and more difficult for Minnesota with each passing minute.

"We were just not really able to get into a rhythm," Cook later admitted. "So they were able to sit back and do what they do. We just never got a rhythm and they were just able to fly around and make plays."

Especially 49ers linebacker Fred Warner, who led the defense with seven tackles.

"Yeah, we did all right," Warner said. "I think every week we want to come out and we want to stop the run. I mean, that was of course a big emphasis this week with how successful they've been in the run of recent or throughout the season, honestly.

"We took care of business in that phase."

And in the pass rush, too, as San Francisco was able to sack quarterback Kirk Cousins six times, thanks largely to the Vikings not being able to balance things out with their rushing attack.

As a result, the Niners are advancing in the playoffs because they handled their business better than Minnesota.
  • Written by:
    Peter Panacy has been writing about the 49ers since 2011 for outlets like Bleacher Report, Niner Noise, 49ers Webzone, and is occasionally heard as a guest on San Francisco's 95.7 FM The Game and the Niners' flagship station, KNBR 680. Feel free to follow him, or direct any inquiries to his Twitter account.

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