Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Shanahan provides final updates ahead of 49ers-Vikings

Nov 26, 2021 at 3:48 PM--

The San Francisco 49ers are preparing to play the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. Head coach Kyle Shanahan spoke with reporters after today's practice. Here is everything he had to say.

Transcript provided by the San Francisco 49ers Communications staff.

What was RB Elijah Mitchell able to do this week and did he get a little bit more comfortable?

"Yeah, he got better each day. He was able to do everything except we just kept guys off him, from hitting him."

Any change in DL Dee Ford or LB Dre Greenlaw? You mentioned earlier in the week that you anticipated them being available.

"Hoping so, but we're going to hold that out until tomorrow to decide for sure."

Did Dee practice today?

"He did, he was limited. He wasn't out there for stretch, but he came out."

One of the things with the Minnesota Vikings, I noticed their yards per attempt on rushing defense is pretty high, but they don't give up big plays. They don't give up chunk plays. Why is that? Why have they been able to limit the number of 20-plus runs?

"Because they keep everything boxed in. They play two-shell defense probably more than anybody. Their clouds, outside corners, do a good job of funneling it inside. And by the time the back gets past the line of scrimmage, those cover-two safeties are up there at five yards, so eight-man fronts are hard to run the ball against, but if you get a guy out of an eight-man front, there's only one guy left with lots of room. Two-shell, it's like an umbrella all the time. And that's how they've done it always with [Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike] Zimmer. He's been that way for a while. You go back to our playoff game and I think we had 47 runs, but it wasn't until like clip 65 or something that I think we got one over 10 yards. So they're always pretty stout in that way."

Is the key just patience with a defense like that?

"Yeah, that's why if you can't break big plays, you usually don't get the stats because you end up having to punt. Eventually, you don't get points when you don't get big plays, that's why it's so important to do well on third downs and to do well in the red zone."

With Mitchell, is it a function thing still? Pain tolerance thing? What will determine?

"Oh yeah. If he's not 100% confident in how he feels, then we won't put him out there. So it's mainly just getting to that point and I think he's getting closer to being that."

Obviously, he doesn't verbalize when he's injured during the game. Is he upfront with you as far as confidence level?

"Yeah, he is. He is upfront. And I think he would be in the game too. Just adrenaline is a funny thing in those games. Sometimes, you don't feel it, the pain, until after."

Usually when somebody gets a pin inserted they're out for a month, at least. Is this just a different medical procedure?

"Yeah, I don't want to under talk it, but it has to do with where it's at and you can protect it. And he's a fast healer and obviously, he wouldn't be out there if he wasn't alright."

Could it be protected to a point where if he's comfortable he would play?


Two questions, but they'll be brief. Has T Mike McGlinchey had his surgery? And then both with McGlinchey and DT Javon Kinlaw, I realize they're both early on in more extensive rehabs but do you have a sense of when they could be ready next year?

"Yes, they both had their surgery. They both went real well. I would guess training camp on just the two injuries that both of them had."

You had said the other day that, maybe it's somewhat of gamesmanship, but you were like, 'Well, it doesn't matter, about the Vikings defensive line injuries, it doesn't affect what we do.' At some point when a team has so much attrition on one area, doesn't it affect what you do? Or what you want, maybe where you attack them?

"Yeah, but when you're missing two guys in your starting lineup, it's not going to change what they do schematically. It changes some one-on-one battles, but from a scheme standpoint, you put players in position based off of who has the best look on what they're doing, not just who's better versus that guy. Because it's not just a one-on-one game, it's people just playing their holes and turning into certain spots that would take a lot of me talking to explain and film to tell why. But I mean, it changes how successful some things can be, but it's not like you just completely alter a gameplan."

I know you're fired up after any type of win, no matter how it happens, but you seem just through the years, particularly juiced when you can dominate a team with your rushing attack. Is that true and why is it? Is it just because this is a physical game and maybe when you can win physically, it's just somewhat more satisfying?

"Yeah, I think it's when you can dictate it and the best way to dictate a game is to run the ball. And to do it, it's not just the running back, it's not just the O-Line and it's not just the offense. I feel like when you can dominate a game through the run game yeah, you've got to have all of that with the offense, but it's the whole team. And teams that do that, not just once in a while, but teams that can win a lot of games doing that are usually teams that are extremely hard to beat in any situation in any condition and any type of game."

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