49ers: Position grades, analysis from convincing playoff victory over Vikings

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Nick Bosa #97 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

The San Francisco 49ers took the first step towards hoisting the Lombardi Trophy, beating the Vikings 27-10 in the NFC Divisional round. Niner Noise hands out position grades to recap the victory.

Heading into this San Francisco 49ers game, pundits were smelling an upset. Most cited how the Minnesota Vikings seemed to have momentum, whereas the 49ers defense had simply not been up to par the last few weeks.

Some even chose to use the previous encounter between these two teams, back in 2018, as proof of a Vikings victory, despite how much the Niners have changed since then.

They were proven wrong emphatically by the 49ers, as Kyle Shanahan’s group won 27-10 in a game whose score makes it seem closer than it actually was.

Right off the bat, there was a sense that the Niners defense was going to play at a level it hadn’t reached since defensive end Dee Ford and linebacker Kwon Alexander were injured. They forced a three-and-out, which allowed the Niners’ offense, led by quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in his postseason debut, to score an easy touchdown.

From there, things got dicey.

The Vikings picked on cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon all the way down the field, resulting in a touchdown for wide receiver Stefon Diggs. The Niners didn’t have much offensive success, but they managed.

Through an 18-yard punt return, and then a dominating run game, San Francisco scored a touchdown on the ground. But a Garoppolo interception to linebacker Eric Kendricks could have derailed the team heading into the half.

Luckily, the Niners defense held them to three points off a field goal.

The second half was defensive domination. San Francisco didn’t allow the Vikings to build any momentum whatsoever, and the 49ers run game, headed by running back Tevin Coleman, took care of business.

The Niners walked away having only given up seven first downs in a dominant defensive performance.

It was a showing from which everyone can feel satisfied, and most position groups had a terrific performance. Expect a lot of A’s in today’s report card.

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