Points of the Game: Vikings



Former 49ers linebacker and KNBR color commentator Gary Plummer previews the 49ers opponents every week of the 2009 season on 49ers.com. For this week's "Points of the Game" column, Plummer breaks down the 49ers week three opponent – the Minnesota Vikings.**I'm happy for Brett Favre. I'm happy that he's still playing the game that he loves. I think I'll always remember the passion that Favre played with.

The first image that comes to mind when I think of Favre was an NFC championship game that we played against them in Green Bay. They were leading and it was a fourth quarter situation. It was fourth-down and short. We knew they pretty much weren't going to snap the ball. They were just going to try and get us to jump offsides. Favre was going through all of his hard counts to get us to jump and two of our defensive tackles, Dana Stubblefield and Bryant Young were both almost about to jump every time Favre yelled 'Hut!'

I literally had to grab both of them and hold them back as Favre was giving the hard counts. While I was doing that, Favre started cracking up. He looked at me, started literally laughing and had to call a timeout because he couldn't get us to jump.

It was neat that in a moment of high competition and intensity, that he could still enjoy the game. I think that's what people don't understand about him. Even though he's 40-years-old, he's still a kid at heart. He still loves playing the game.

But I would definitely put him in the top-10 as far as quarterbacks in the NFL right now. Even at his age.

He has a 110.0 quarterback rating right now and hasn't thrown an interception in two games. He's back in the same offense that he had in Green Bay – the West Coast offense. From what I've seen, he has some very good players around him and he knows that he doesn't have to be
"The Guy." People think he's hanging on by a thread, trust me, the guys still has it. He's willing to put his ego aside and let it be Adrian Peterson's team. He realizes that and I think it takes a mature quarterback to do it.

It's going to take a lot for the 49ers to stop Favre, but mainly Peterson. It's going to take more than just the matchup that everyone is talking about, Peterson versus 49ers inside linebacker Joe Staley. Yeah, that's the marquee match. But it will take all 11 of the 49ers to stop Peterson. You need to have corners come up in support and thankfully the 49ers have seen that from their corners in their first two games. I think that's one of the most impressive things I've seen from defensive coordinator Greg Manusky's defense.

It's going to take two to three guys to tackle Peterson. He's got it all. He has great size, great acceleration, great speed, great vision and great cut-back ability. And he runs with the power inside and speed on the outside. He can run over you and he can run around you.

Simply put, he's a stud.

Minnesota has an offensive line that is huge, which helps. They average out to be 6-foot-5, 321 pounds. Their tackles both weigh over 340 pounds! So this will be one of those games where the entire 49ers defense has to have a good game in run support. All of the 49ers will have to be responsible in stopping Peterson.

On offense for the 49ers, it will take a similar team effort.

By design, the 49ers aren't passing a lot so far. We've seen that they're running the football, running the football and running the football. They're doing that, because the best defense is a good offense in terms of ball control. The 49ers are winning the time of possession and turnover battles. And that is by design.

It's going to be a tough matchup for the 49ers rush offense agaisnt the Vikings, because they are stacked on defense. Three of their four defensive linemen (Pat Williams, Kevin Williams and Jerad Allen) are All-Pros. It certainly is making things easier for guys like Vikings outside linebacker Chad Greenway when you're playing behind that kind of talent. Greenway already has a couple of interceptions and a fumble recovery, thanks to his linemen. But the 49ers will certainly have their hands full in establishing the run.

The funny thing is the Vikings defense are coached by Minnesota's defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier who was a teammate of 49ers head coach Mike Singletary on the 1985 Chicago Bears Super Bowl team. He and Singletary are former teammates and they play the same style of football, which makes Sunday and even more intriguing matchup.

For the 49ers offense, we all know that Frank Gore runs the ball extremely hard inside and that he's a very physical runner. But the speed that he showed against Seattle was very impressive. You have to be fast to score touchdowns of 79 and 80 yards in the NFL. The video board did help him a little bit, but he was able to run away from guys. He's noted more for being a power runner, but Gore has put fear across the NFL. You have to respect Gore's ability to run counter and trap plays against certain defensive fronts where everyone is playing on that first level. That's dangerous. Teams are going to have to stop using run blitzes against Gore if he continues to break long runs.

There's a lot of mini-storylines heading into this game, but as we get closer to game time they will start to fade. Now we can start looking to the action on the field. This is going to be a titanic battle between two very similar football teams. They're two smash-mouth, play-action pass offenses and defenses that swarm to the ball. All things considered, it should be a great game.

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