A gold rush towards the postseason?

Categories: NFL

Minnesota at San Francisco, 3:05pm

Pre-game

NFC Standings

Division Leaders
Dallas 11-1
Green Bay 10-2
Tampa Bay 8-4
Seattle 8-4

Wild Card Race
NY Giants 8-4
Minnesota 6-6
Detroit 6-6
Arizona 6-6

The Vikings have games remaining against San Francisco, Chicago, Washington, and Denver (5-7).

The Rest
Washington 6-7*
Carolina 5-7
New Orleans 5-7
Philadelphia 5-7
Chicago 5-8*
San Francisco 3-9
St. Louis 3-9
Atlanta 3-9
*game played 12/6


The Minnesota Vikings have entered the phase of the season when teams are personified. Some teams “control their own destiny,” others “need some help,” still others are “just playing for pride.” Every team wants to be in the first category and with a win today against the lowly San Francisco 49ers, the Vikings can put themselves in a very agreeable position with 3 games left against teams with a combined 16-22 record. Minnesota travels west with the leading rushing attack in the league with rookie Adrian Peterson and dependable Chester Taylor needing only 179 yards to set the team record for most yards by a tandem. Robert Smith and Daunte Culpepper hold the record with 1,991 yards set by the 2000 Vikings.

Any record set that removes the name Culpepper from the top is twice as sweet.

In addition to the #1 rushing offense, the Vikings combine that with the #1 defense against the run. That’s a winning combination in the NFL. Minnesota’s three game winning streak is evidence of that. If the Vikes can continue to pressure the opposing quarterback - this week the awe-inspiring former Superbowl champ Trent Dilfer - and if the surging Tarvaris Jackson can continue to minimize mistakes and make one or two big plays down the field, the VIkes might find themselves thinking about their destiny.


Halftime

Minnesota 27, San Francisco 0

Williams_Kevinweb.jpg
Big Kevin Williams sets the tone.

On April 26, 2003 the Vikings draft team coveted a defensive lineman from Oklahoma State and with the 5th pick in the draft they had a good chance in getting their guy. The only thing that stood in their way was the penny-pinching Minnesota owner Uncle Red McCombs. The draft unfolded with the Vikes desperately looking for a partner to trade the pick so Red wouldn’t have to shell out as many Benjamins. The 5th pick came and went with no trade and the Vikings were lucky that Kevin Williams was still available in the number seven spot.

Today’s Vikings would be a much different team if Kevin Williams weren’t anchoring the defense. Whether plugging up the middle with fellow run stopper Pat Williams, or commanding constant double teams from opponents, Kevin Williams is big reason the Vikings are shutting out the 49ers today and smelling blood in the NFC.

Big Kevin Williams’ presence can also be felt on the scoreboard. Just 7 seconds into today’s game Kevin batted a ball into his hands and ran the interception back 18 yards for the early lead and added to the tally of the #1 scoring defense in the NFL.

On the other side of the ball, Tarvaris Jackson continues his sparkling play going 10 of 16 for 115 yards and 1 touchdown and more importantly 0 turnovers. Chester Taylor, capitalizing on all the focus on Adrian Peterson, has rushed for 99 yards including his longest scoring run of the year.

The Vikes look very much like a playoff team with their stellar play on the road this afternoon. And with Detroit losing earlier in the day to Dallas and Arizona down big in Seattle, Minnesota is staking their claim in gold country today.


Post-game

Minnesota 27, San Francisco 7

No one will remember the second half of this game for its spectacular offensive fireworks. The way Minnesota played in the first half, no show was necessary. This game was over at the half. The point spread is hard to figure given that Adrian Peterson was held to a mere 3 yards on 14 carries. But any good team has other options. Chester Taylor filled in nicely with 101 yards on only 8 carries and Tarvaris scanned the field completing passes to 7 different receivers and threw no interceptions and was sacked zero times. The Vikings’ defense was the star of this game beginning with K. Williams’ interception and score on the second play from scrimmage. Forcing five turnovers, including a record 2 interceptions by defensive tackles, left little chance of a 49ers’ upset today. Now the Vikings head back home to face a familiar NFC north opponent, the Chicago Bears, on Monday Night Football. Minnesota stands alone now in the 6th and final NFC playoff spot with loses today by Detroit and Arizona. Four wins in a row has this team in position to be the team no one will want to face come January.

Due to the lack of action in the second half of this game, I was able to dig up for you the 3 worst video moments in San Francisco 49er history. Enjoy.

#3 Billy Joel would be proud. They are the 49ers and they are always exciting.

#2 Remember Up with People? I can’t believe they were allowed to perform during the half at four Superbowls.This is their performance during Superbowl 16 between the 49ers and the Bengals.

#1 Rap videos with football players are pure gold. Every team should be required to produce one. I can't believe Joe Montana didn't want to be part of this.


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