It’s not who many expected, but the 49ers’ first opponent of the NFL playoffs is official.
The Minnesota Vikings rolled into New Orleans and shut down the Saints’ high-powered offense en route to a 26-20 victory to advance to the divisional round, where Levi’s Stadium and the Niners await.
Quarterback Kirk Cousins found tight end, Kyle Rudolph, for the game-winning touchdown.
Minnesota, the No. 6 seed in the NFC, controlled the time of possession and used the powerful and rested legs of workhorse running back Dalvin Cook to punch in two touchdowns.
Cook and backup running back Alexander Mattison both sat out the Vikings’ Week 17 game, and the two showed their fresh legs as Minnesota ran for
Entering as eight-point favorites, the Saints were unable to overcome the Vikings’ potent defensive line.
The 49ers did not play the Vikings in 2019, but both teams are getting healthy at the ideal time.
While Cook and wide receiver Adam Thielen have healed up for the playoffs, San Francisco reportedly is “on track” to have linebacker Kwon Alexander available for Saturday’s game.
In addition, head coach Kyle Shanahan is optimistic that defensive end Dee Ford and safety Jaquiski Tartt will be ready to face the Vikings. Both were inactive in Week 17’s win in Seattle.
Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo made his first career start for the 49ers in Minnesota in Week 1 of the 2018 season, a game the Vikings won 24-16.
You can now see Garoppolo’s first postseason start against the Vikings on Saturday, Jan. 11, with kickoff scheduled for 1:35 p.m. on NBC.
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