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Vikings Season Ends as 49ers Smother Cousins in 27-10 Beatdown in San Francisco

From ESPN:

In their first home playoff game at Levi’s Stadium, the well-rested Niners dominated the Minnesota Vikings 27-10 in an NFC divisional round game.

With the win, San Francisco advanced to the NFC Championship Game set for Jan. 19 where they will meet the winner of Sunday’s divisional round game between the Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers. That game will also take place at Levi’s Stadium.

The defense, in particular, set the tone for the day, harassing quarterback Kirk Cousins consistently and shutting running back Dalvin Cook down entirely. Cook managed just 26 yards on 15 touches.

The same group that was on a historic pace for sacks and pass defense earlier in the year found its groove at the right time.

Perhaps that shouldn’t have been much of a surprise given that the Niners were coming off their first bye since Week 4 and welcomed back three key players in linebacker Kwon Alexander, end Dee Ford and safety Jaquiski Tartt. Aside from defensive tackle D.J. Jones, the Niners had all of their projected preseason starters available for the first time since Week 3.

The Vikings finished with just 147 total yards and seven first downs. They had fewer than 100 total yards until the final five minutes of the game. Before that, their only big play came in the first quarter on a 41-yard touchdown from Cousins to receiver Stefon Diggs.

Here’s the highlights from the win:

Vikings Place CB Mackensie Alexander on IR Prior to NFC Divisional Playoff Game

The Vikings have placed cornerback Mackensie Alexander on injured reserve just one day before their NFC Divisional Round game against the 49ers according to Andrew Krammer of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

They signed rookie defensive back Nate Meadows to the active roster in a corresponding move. Alexander suffered a small meniscus tear in Week 17 and was unable to suit up for last Sunday’s win at New Orleans.

He underwent arthroscopic surgery on Thursday and the medical staff obviously determined that the 26-year-old Alexander would not recover in time to contribute even if the Vikings make the Super Bowl. A second-round pick out of Clemson in 2016, Alexander will become an unrestricted free agent this offseason.

With Alexander headed to IR and second-year corner Mike Hughes already there, the Vikings will head to San Fran with a very thin secondary.

Only nine teams had at least four CBs graded outside of Pro Football Focus’s top-50 corners this season. The Texans (5) and Vikings (4) are the only playoff teams to appear on that list.

Secondary help will likely be a top priority for Minnesota throughout free agency and the draft this offseason and several members of the current secondary-including Alexander and former shutdown corner Xavier Rhodes-could find themselves wearing a different uniform in 2020.

Inactives for the Vikings at Saints NFC Wild Card Game

Here are today’s inactives for the NFC Wild Card Game in New Orleans between the Vikings and Saints.

Vikings: CB Mackensie Alexander, OT Aviante Collins, DE Hercules Mata’afa, OG Dru Samia, WR Laquon Treadwell, OT Oli Udoh, DE Eddie Yarbrough

Saints: CB Eli Apple, FS D.J. Swearinger, OL Ethan Greenidge, FB Zach Line, DE Noah Spence, LB Manti Te’o, C Will Clapp

Coach Mike Zimmer and GM Rick Spielman Will Be Back with the Vikings in 2020

While their focus in on Sunday’s wild card showdown with the Saints in New Orleans, the Vikings Friday announced that no matter the outcome, head coach Mike Zimmer and general manager Rick Spielman will be back in 2020 in their respective positions.

“We value Mike and Rick’s leadership and we have every intent of Mike continuing as the head coach of the Minnesota Vikings and Rick leading our football operations, next year and beyond,” Vikings owner Mark Wilf said in a statement obtained by NFL Network.

Both Zimmer and Spielman are under contract in Minnesota through the 2020 season.

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported on Saturday that Zimmer was a name to watch in the Dallas Cowboys’ likely head coaching search.

As Zimmer is under contract, Dallas would have to execute a trade for the former Cowboys defensive coordinator if it were to move on from Jason Garrett.

In his six seasons as Vikings head coach, Zimmer has led Minnesota to a 57-38-1 record, three playoff appearances, two division titles and just one losing season.

Spielman has been with the Vikings organization since 2006 and held the title of general manager since 2012.

Video: Vikings and Saints Set to Battle in Sunday’s NFC Wild Card Game

The Vikings and Saints go to war in the NFC Wild Card game on Sunday, here’s a preview from the NFL:

Vikings Feature Back Dalvin Cook Says He’s “Full Strength” for Wild Card Game

Vikings running back Dalvin Cook declared himself “refreshed” and at “full strength” heading into Sunday’s Wild Card showdown against the Saints according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Cook is dealing with a shoulder injury that dates back to at least Week 13 and he missed the last two games of the regular season.

But he is undoubtedly going to play against the Saints with everything on the line despite the risk of re-injury. And he will not only play but will be given all the work he can handle as the Vikings would have virtually zero chance of pulling the upset without him.

The 24-year-old managed to stay healthy for the majority of the season for the first time in his NFL career and has produced over 1,600 yards from scrimmage and a robust 13 touchdowns in 14 games.

Vikings and Saints Set for Battle Sunday in NFC Wild Card Showdown

If the Vikings want to advance to the Divisional round of the postseason, they will have to do it in a tough atmosphere in New Orleans on Sunday at 12:05pm.

Minnesota and the Saints opened up the season in the preseason, but there’s a whole lot more on the line in this rematch.

The Vikings will enter the contest as the 6th seed in the NFC with a mark of 10-6. New Orleans put together another impressive regular season despite losing QB Drew Brees for a number of weeks, and went 13-3 but could not overtake the Packers and 49ers for the two top spots in the conference.

This postseason the team is using #GoGetIt as their official slogan for what they hope will be a Super Bowl run.

These two teams know each other well when it comes to the postseason, as they have already played four times with everything on the line.

The last time they met is well remembered by many, the famous “Minneapolis Miracle” game on Jan. 14, 2018.

Video: Vikings Play Host to the Bears in a Week 17 NFC North Battle

The Vikings will play the Bears in the week 17 finale as they get ready for the playoffs. Here’s a video preview.

Vikings Set to Part Ways with Defensive Coordinator George Edwards?

Vikings defensive coordinator George Edwards is in the final year of his contract and might not return in 2020, Zach Links of Profootballrumors reports.

Edwards has been in Minnesota since 2014 and, this year, he’s helped orchestrate one of the league’s better defensive units.

In previous years, Edwards has been connected to head coaching vacancies, so it’s not clear whether the Vikings are looking to make a change or if its Edwards that wants to go elsewhere.

Last offseason, Edwards interviewed for the Buccaneers’ vacancy that ultimately went to Bruce Arians. In 2018, the Bears sat down with Edwards before hiring Matt Nagy.

Before joining the Vikings, Edwards also spent time as the DC for the Bills and Redskins among his many NFL stops.

Video: Vikings Look to Take Down the Packers in MNF NFC North Showdown

It’s a huge NFC North showdown on Monday in Minnesota as the 10-4 Vikings play host to the 11-3 Packers in what could be the divisions game of the season.

Here’s a preview.