VIKINGS PLAYER TO WATCH: LT Christian Darrisaw. The first-round draft pick from Virginia Tech has fared relatively well protecting Kirk Cousins after a debut delayed by preseason groin surgery, and the rookie will face one of his toughest tests yet against DE Nick Bosa. Darrisaw will make his sixth career start on Sunday. Cousins was sacked six times by the 49ers in the last meeting between the teams in the divisional round of the 2019 playoffs, a 27-10 victory for San Francisco in which Minnesota was held to 147 total yards.
49ERS PLAYER TO WATCH: Bosa has bounced back from last year’s season-ending knee injury and is back to his high level of play from his rookie year in 2019. Bosa has a career-high 10 sacks, including five in the past four games.
KEY MATCHUP: Vikings WR Justin Jefferson vs. 49ers CBs Emmanuel Moseley and Josh Norman. The Niners have had issues in the secondary this season and will have their hands full with Jefferson, who had 169 yards receiving last week.
KEY INJURIES: Vikings DE Danielle Hunter (pectoral) and TE Irv Smith Jr. (knee) are out for the season. … DT Michael Pierce (elbow) will miss at least one more game on injured reserve. C Garrett Bradbury was cleared to play last week after a two-game absence to COVID-19, but Mason Cole remained in the starting lineup against the Packers. DT Dalvin Tomlinson landed on the COVID-19 reserve list on Tuesday, but otherwise the Vikings are a lot healthier than they were two weeks ago. … Niners RB Elijah Mitchell (finger) could return this week after missing last week. … LB Dre Greenlaw (groin) is back at practice and could be activated from IR.
SERIES NOTES: The teams last met in the playoffs following the 2019 season with the Niners winning 27-10. … The Vikings have lost 10 of the last 11 road games in the series, with the only win in that span coming in 2007. … Bosa had two sacks in the playoff win two years ago.
STATS AND STUFF: The Vikings are the 18th team since the merger to lead each of their first 10 games by at least seven points. The other 17 combined for an .841 winning percentage. … Cousins is the only QB in the league to rank in the top 10 in each of these five categories: completion percentage (sixth), passing yards (sixth), passing touchdowns (sixth), interceptions (tied for first) and passer rating (third). Cousins has tied Daunte Culpepper for the team record with 24 consecutive games with at least one touchdown pass. … The Vikings converted 9 of 13 third downs last week against the Packers, a season-best rate (69.2). … Vikings S Harrison Smith had a sack vs. the Packers to extend his franchise career record for defensive backs to 15½. Only Jamal Adams (21½) has more since Smith entered the league in 2012. … Jimmy Garoppolo joined Steve Young and Joe Montana as the only 49ers QBs with four straight starts with a passer rating of at least 100 in a single season. Young has the franchise record with six straight. … San Francisco has run the ball at least 42 times in back-to-back regular-season games for the first time since 1987. … Niners DL Arden Key has sacks in three straight games. … San Francisco’s Deebo Samuel is the third WR since the merger with at least five TD catches and three TD runs in the same season. … The Niners have opened the game with an 18-play TD drive and 20-play FG drive the past two weeks.
FANTASY TIP: Niners TE George Kittle has TD catches in three straight games since returning from injured reserve. Kittle had only three TD catches in his previous 15 games.