After losing a handful of winnable games already this season, the Minnesota Vikings were going to have to steal one that most people wouldn’t expect to salvage their 2023 season.
They accomplished just that on Monday Night at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Paced by what wound up being a coming-out party for rookie wide receiver Jordan Addison, the Vikings took down one of the NFC’s best teams, defeating the San Francisco 49ers by a final score of 22-17 at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Things were sloppy to start out, as the two teams exchanged turnovers on their opening possessions. Kirk Cousins was intercepted by Charvarius Ward on a pass intended for Jordan Addison on the Vikings’ first drive, but that was countered shortly thereafter by Harrison Smith forcing a fumble from Christian McCaffrey that was recovered by Dean Lowry to end the Niners’ threat.
Minnesota cashed in on the McCaffrey fumble, as they went 89 yards in 10 plays and got into the end zone on a 20-yard touchdown pass from Cousins to Addison to give the Vikings a 7-0 lead with just under five minutes left in the first quarter.
After a missed field goal by the Niners, the Vikings got a field goal of their own as Greg Joseph connected from 21 yards out to extend the Minnesota lead to 10-0 midway through the second quarter. San Francisco responded with their first touchdown of the night, a 3-yard touchdown run from Christian McCaffrey, to make it 10-7 with a minute left in the first half. Then, Jordan Addison bailed out Kirk Cousins in a big way in the two-minute drill, as Cousins threw a pass that looked like it was going to be Charvarius Ward’s second interception, but Addison took it out of his hands and went down the field for a 60-yard touchdown.
After Greg Joseph missed the extra point, the Vikings went into the locker room with a 16-7 lead.
Minnesota extended their lead midway through the third quarter, but they did so by turning a first-and-goal from the 1-yard line into another Greg Joseph field goal to make it 19-7 with about seven minutes left in the third quarter. The Niners answered quickly, taking just 65 seconds and three plays to move 75 yards, capping things with a 35-yard connection on a swing pass from Brock Purdy to Christian McCaffrey. That touchdown cut the Vikings’ lead to 19-14 and the momentum appeared to be shifting towards the visiting side.
The Vikings extended the lead back to eight on a 54-yard field goal from Greg Joseph to make it 22-14 heading into the fourth quarter. The Niners then got back to within five early in the fourth quarter when Moody blasted one home from 55 yards out to make it 22-17.
After the Vikings punted for the first time on the night (six minutes into the fourth quarter), the Minnesota defense forced another turnover as Camryn Bynum intercepted Purdy to stop a drive that had reached Minnesota territory.
The Vikings pushed down into San Francisco territory at the two-minute warning, forcing the Niners to burn all of their timeouts. The Vikings called on Greg Joseph for a 50-yard field goal attempt, and he pushed it wide to the right to give the Niners hope with 1:11 remaining.
And Camryn Bynum snuffed out that hope again with his second interception of the night to ice the game for Minnesota.
The Vikings move to 3-4 on the season and have a chance to get back to .500 when they head to Lambeau Field to face Green Bay on Sunday afternoon. It’s the second straight loss for San Francisco, who is now just half a game ahead of Seattle in the NFC West.
The Minnesota Vikings pull off a massive upset on Monday Night Football, defeating the San Francisco 49ers by a final score of 22-17. Thanks to everyone that got their coverage of this week’s game right here at The Daily Norseman!