49ers game grades from tough win over Vikings in Week 12

Josh Metellus #44 of the Minnesota Vikings tackles Kyle Juszczyk #44 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Josh Metellus #44 of the Minnesota Vikings tackles Kyle Juszczyk #44 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /
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Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen (19) against San Francisco 49ers safety Talanoa Hufanga (29) Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /

49ers Defense

San Francisco’s defense actually only gave up 20 points, which is certainly not great but is reasonable given the amount of offensive talent the Vikings have.

Add in some timely turnovers forced, and it was a good day for the defense, though some issues that must be addressed popped up.

Defensive Line: B

The 49ers had a rather pedestrian game in terms of pressure production. Nick Bosa, like always, had a great game, getting his 11th sack of the year and showing up in the backfield. The other members of the pass-rush unit were a little less noticeable, though, and Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins often had ample time to survey the field.

When the pressure got there, it was something fierce, and Cousins was notably uncomfortable both when dealing with the pressure and when having to escape the pocket.

The run defense, however, has to be commended. The Vikings ran the ball at a 3.7 yards-per-carry clip, a definite success. Kevin Givens forcing the fumble on Dalvin Cook by absolutely destroying the right guard was the most visible play of a quality effort up front.

Linebackers: B+

Perhaps the greatest sign for the Niners linebacking depth in particular was that both Dre Greenlaw and then Fred Warner had left the game due to ailments, and it wasn’t entirely clear that they had ever left. Azeez Al-Shaair’s athletic interception is a flashy play and a needed turnover, but the linebackers were more good than great this game.

Tackling wasn’t as solid as it had been in the last couple weeks, there were moments of definite over-pursuit, but they weren’t really targeted in the pass game and held up well overall.

Just some fine-tuning necessary.

Secondary: C

It was never a truly reasonable expectation to think San Francisco’s secondary would just shut down the Vikings passing game, and though there were some good moments, the secondary found itself in deep trouble more often than not.

The Vikings leveraged the 49ers’ preference to not travel corners across the formation to garner favorable matchups and exploited them. Both of wide receiver Adam Thielen’s touchdowns came on plays of that nature. Both touchdowns were also not on difficult plays. Josh Norman lost most of his battles against Justin Jefferson, though his forced fumble was a reminder of the explosive element he can bring to a football team.

All in all, the secondary survived the game with some scratches, but they never gave up a knockout punch.

Total 49ers Grade: B-