No. 3: Nick Bosa vs. Riley Reiff
Flipping the script, the 49ers can make life awfully difficult for Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins if they can generate a pass rush similar to the one the Niners enjoyed earlier in the season.
Getting Dee Ford back will ultimately mean opposing offensive lines can no longer afford to double EDGE Nick Bosa, who finished second on San Francisco’s defense with nine sacks, still wrecking plays late in the season despite his sack totals staying stagnant.
Bosa, who’ll be featured more regularly on the weak side of the formation with Ford back, will find himself frequently opposite veteran left tackle Riley Reiff, who has been one of the few constants along Minnesota’s banged-up offensive line.
According to Pro Football Focus, Reiff allowed five sacks and 25 pressures during the regular season, and he’ll likely be in a lot of one-on-one matchups versus Bosa if the Vikings choose to double team Ford, defensive end Arik Armstead or defensive tackle DeForest Buckner.
Why does it matter?
Cousins’ passer rating, according to PFF, dropped to 84.9 when facing pressure, compared to 118.1 without it.