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Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

49ers’ 5 Keys to Victory vs. Vikings

Oct 22, 2023 at 11:08 AM--

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After a devastating loss to the Cleveland Browns last Sunday, the San Francisco 49ers look to bounce back. The team will have to do it without Deebo Samuel, ruled out with a hairline fracture, and All-Pro Trent Williams listed as doubtful with an ankle injury. What will be the game plan from head coach Kyle Shanahan to get his team back into the win category and improve to 6-1 on the season?

The ShanaPlan must include these Keys to Victory if the 49ers look to remain one of the top records in the league.

Establish the Run

Christian McCaffrey is dealing with an oblique injury, but the 49ers must establish the run without overusing their All-Pro running back. The 49ers must implement their other backs, Elijah Mitchell and Jordan Mason. Although Shanahan wants to lean on his bell cow, he shouldn't be afraid to have a rotation at the running back position. The Minnesota Vikings are ranked 18th in defending the run, allowing, on average, 112.3 yards per game. The 49ers are ranked third in rushing, averaging 148.3 yards per game. If the 49ers find a way to establish the run early, they will control the clock and find their way to a victory.

Let it Rip

Brock Purdy had his worst game against the number one defense in the NFL, the Browns. The Vikings are ranked 15th in total defense, allowing 331.2 yards per game. The Vikings are ranked 17th in passing, allowing 218.8 yards per game. Although Samuel is out, expect other receivers to step up in his absence. Ronnie Bell and Ray-Ray McCloud should expect more targets in this matchup. The Vikings will look to blitz with their All-Pro safety, Harrison Smith, so expect some quick throws from Purdy to neutralize their defense.

Once Purdy becomes comfortable, he will activate his deep-pass ability, which could mean a massive game for Brandon Aiyuk and George Kittle. The 49ers shouldn't be afraid to let it rip against this secondary. If they do, the 49ers will earn another victory.

Eliminate the Explosive Plays

Defensive coordinator Steve Wilks predicates his defense on creating turnovers and limiting explosive plays. Against the Browns, the 49ers allowed four or five explosive plays in the air and on the ground. Amari Cooper had one for 50-plus yards on Deommodore Lenoir and 25-plus yards on Charvarius Ward, which led to points for the Browns.

The explosive plays given up on the ground were more concerning. The 49ers' run defense allowed 160 yards on the ground to running backs Jerome Ford and Kareem Hunt. Now, the team faces Alexander Mattison and a familiar face, Cam Akers. Mattison averages 3.9 yards per carry, but he has zero touchdowns on the season with a long run of 17. Akers has one touchdown and averages 2.8 yards per carry but has one run for 12-plus yards. Both running backs can rush for explosive plays, which leads to the continuation of drives. If the 49ers look to improve to 6-1, they need to eliminate the explosive plays.

Wrap and Tackle

The 49ers had ten missed tackles against the Browns last Sunday. Part of that may have been the absence of their leading tackler, Dre Greenlaw. Greenlaw has returned to practice and is healthy and ready to go against the Vikings. Their missed tackles led to the extension of drives, and the 49ers' defense needed to get off the field as quickly as possible to give their offense opportunities to score points. This basic football fundamentals will allow the 49ers to reign supreme in Minnesota. Look for the 49ers' defense to return to the basics and improve to 6-1.

Be Disciplined

The 49ers committed 12 penalties against the Browns last Sunday. Some may argue that the previous two penalties on the defense caused them the victory. Rule number one: never let the officials dictate the outcome. The 49ers are ranked 29th in team penalties this season, which is in the league's bottom tier. They have 51 penalties on the season, with 29 of those called on the road. The 49ers need to do a better job at taking the officials out of the game. The coaching must have their players prepped and disciplined for this matchup against the Vikings. There is no need to commit penalties on both sides of the ball, giving the home-team Vikings opportunities to score.

In Conclusion

There's no doubt that the 49ers are one the best teams in 2023. They can prove that with a win In Minnesota. If the 49ers want to remain the cream of the crop, they must stick to the Keys to Victory.
  • Written by:
    Wayne Breezie is a 49ers content creator. He had his first guest appearance on Ronbosports in 2012. He began writing for a Facebook group called the League of the 49ers. Next, he began writing for Nothing But Niners in 2017. In 2018, Wayne Breezie made his debut on YouTube’s Nothing But Niners show. In 2019, he started his podcast called Nitty Gritty Niners. After putting the pen down for several years, Breezie saw an opportunity to write for His first published article was in January of 2022 with 49ersCap, and he currently writes and produces weekly podcasts.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.

1 Comment

  • Peachy Brown
    Love these keys to victory! Definitely must be disciplined cut down on those penalties. Also definitely have to get that ground game going. Another great article ????
    Oct 22, 2023 at 11:15 AM

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