Some Things to ‘Ponder’ and Watch For Leading Up to This Weekend’s Vikings-49ers Matchup at the Metrodome
The Minnesota Vikings will enter their week 3 matchup as underdogs playing host to the San Francisco 49ers, who appear to be the hottest team in the NFL right now. Looking to upset the undefeated 49ers and stay above .500 on the season will be a tough challenge as San Francisco's ruthless defense and strong, balanced offense comes to town on Sunday at noon.
Entering the game, Christian Ponder is looking to continue to stick to his goal of a minimum of a 75% completion percentage. Through the first two games, he has met and exceeded that goal and currently leads all NFL quarterbacks with a 75.8% completion percentage. Along with this impressive number, Ponder is also in the top 10 overall passer ratings in the NFL, coming in at number 6 overall with a 110.6 passer rating through two games. Ahead of him are Matt Ryan (1 - 117.6), Alex Smith (2 - 115.9), Sam Bradford (3 - 112.4), Robert Griffin III (4 - 111.6), and Phillip Rivers (5 - 110.7).
Alex Smith and the 49ers will be bringing former Vikings wideout Randy Moss as a part of his offensive unit in this game. Moss has struggled to stay relevant in recent years, bouncing from team to team and offering little splash on the field. His contributions through two games this season include a stat line of 5 receptions for 61 yards and 1 touchdown. Some are calling Randy more of a "possession receiver" now, as opposed to his former "stretch the field" self. While he hasn't had much of a major impact of late, look for Randy to make his presence known in this game, as a return "home" is sure to get him at least mildly fired up.
In the last 4 matchups between the Vikings and 49ers at the Metrodome, Minnesota has gone 4-0. The most recent game between these two teams in Minneapolis was in 2009, when Brett Favre threw a last-second touchdown pass to Greg Lewis to win 27-24. While the Vikings have been able to win against San Fransisco at home in recent years, the 49ers have the edge in the all-time matchup with a 22-21-1 record.
A couple of other storylines, facts, and game notes entering this weekend's game for the Vikings include:
- Vikings WR Percy Harvin had a career-high 12 receptions last week and has caught 18 of the 21 passes thrown his way in 2012. Harvin’s 18 receptions are the most by a Viking through the first 2 games of a season passing Cris Carter (1997) and Randy Moss (2002), who each recorded 17.
- On 1st and 2nd downs, Ponder has thrown for 339 yards, 1 TD, completed 32-of-40 pass attempts and has a passer rating of 110.3 in 2012.
- Vikings WR Michael Jenkins will look to extend his streak of 54 consecutive games with a reception in which he’s played in.
- The Vikings are tied for 3rd in the NFL with 7 kickoff touchbacks and sit in a tie for 4th in average opponent starting position after kickoff (19.4 yardline).
- With 1 FG of 50+ yards, Vikings K Blair Walsh will set the team record with 3 consecutive games with a 50+ yard FG. Only Walsh and Fuad Reveiz have 2 straigh games with a 50+ yarder.
- The Vikings 54 sacks since the the start of the 2011 season is tied for 1st in the NFL. During that same time span, the Vikings rank 1st in the NFL with 16 fumble recoveries.
- From 2003-12, Vikings DT Kevin Williams trails only 49ers DT Justin Smith in sacks by defensive tackles. Smith has tallied 57.5 sacks while Williams has recorded 54.5.
- Vikings LB Erin Henderson has led or shared the team lead in tackles each of the first 2 games with 13 in each contest. Henderson also leads the team in sacks (2.0) and tackles for loss (4.0).
- Vikings rookie FB Rhett Ellison’s father, Riki Ellison, played LB for the 49ers from 1983-89, helping San Francisco to 3 Super Bowl titles.
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