The offense, defense and special teams all showed major flaws while exerting limited positive vibes. If this was truly the Vikings' tuneup game, something drastic will have to change for the Vikings to finish the season with a positive record.
Here are the positives and negatives from the Vikings vs. 49ers game:
Jeff Locke - The left-footed punter strategically placed a 33-yard punt in the early second quarter, pinning the San Francisco 49ers inside their own 2-yard line. Locke finished the night with four punts for a 39.3 average, including a long of 46 yards. He pinned two of his four punts inside the 20-yard line.
Desmond Bishop and Chad Greenway - Bishop, along with Chad Greenway, had great games for the Vikings. Greenway had the Vikings' only interception of the game, adding five tackles in the process. But it was outside linebacker Desmond Bishop who stole the show. Looking revamped after missing the 2012 season with a torn hamstring, Bishop finished the game with nine solo tackles, including two tackles for loss.
Bobby Felder - Fighting for a roster spot, Bobby Felder is taking advantage of every given punt-return opportunity. Against the 49ers, Felder returned two punts for a total of 40 yards, racking up a long of 30 yards. Felder is beginning to look more comfortable returning punts as he put together back-to-back solid punt-return games.
Kevin Williams' Injury - The extent of the injury is not known, but Kevin Williams took a blatant cheap shot from 49ers offensive lineman Joe Looney. Kevin is scheduled to have a MRI to see what damage, if any at all, there is to his knee. Needless to say, it was a scary moment for Vikings fans.
Matt Kalil - Kalil was one of a few players that looked uninterested in playing Sunday night. On a third-and-inches play, veteran defensive lineman Justin Smith bulled past Kalil to blow up a run play in the backfield. Kalil followed up by getting torched on a power rush from Aldon Smith. To make matters worse, Kalil took two penalties, resulting in being benched for a play.
Stephen Burton - Stopping the in the middle of a route is never a good idea, but that is exactly what Stephen Burton did during the Vikings' loss to the 49ers. The play resulted in an interception from quarterback Christian Ponder, but the throw was exactly where Burton would have been had he not given up. That wasn't the only mistake Burton made. He also failed to go in motion later in the game, resulting in a delay of game and a 5-yard penalty.
Josh Robinson - The 49ers found a weakness in the Vikings' defense -- and it got ugly. Josh Robinson continually got burned by 49ers receivers throughout the night. Colin Kaepernick picked on Robinson three plays in a row on the 49ers' third drive of the game, resulting in 28 yards given up and a touchdown. Robinson did finish with six tackles, most of those after the catch.
Leslie Frazier - Head coach Leslie Frazier had a couple of questionable decisions. He predetermined the Vikings would use Adrian Peterson in three snaps (Peterson ended up playing two), but he also predetermined that Peterson would not touch the ball. The oddity of that decision allowed the 49ers to know the first three plays would be passes.
Even stranger than that, Leslie Frazier decided to put the Vikings' starting defense out for the start of the second half against the 49ers' second-team offense. This decision led to the injury of Kevin Williams, who did not need to be on the field at this point in the game. Do the Vikings' defensive linemen really need to prove themselves against second-team linemen?
Dennis Parsons is a Minnesota-area sportswriter covering the Minnesota Vikings for Vikings Central. He previously covered all Minnesota professional sports teams for Minnesota Sports News Nightly. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on twitter @Parsons_VC.
- Sports & Recreation
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- San Francisco 49ers
- Desmond Bishop
- Kevin Williams
- Chad Greenway
- Stephen Burton