setting the tone

The game wasn't secure until Kirk Cousins' hard cadence drew the 49ers offsides to drain the clock and Harrison Smith's late interception. But the Vikings had a handle on things from the beginning, with Cousins playing with confidence, and the defense — highlighted by a ferocious line— playing aggressively.


Vikings LT Riley Reiff vs. 49ers DL DeForest Buckner

advantage Buckner

It took a combination of Riley Reiff and guard Tom Compton to handle Buckner. He still finished with seven tackles and 2½ sacks, doing enough damage to make a mark.



Replacing injured Mackensie Alexander, rookie Mike Hughes did not disappoint. On third-and-8 in the third quarter, he capitalized on Jimmy Garoppolo's errant pass under pressure and a falling receiver, picking off the throw and returning it 28 yards for a touchdown to open up the game, 17-3.


"We had some young guys play that we didn't think would as much. Jayron Kearse, Mike Hughes, Holton Hill ... I told them you never know when it's your time."

— Mike Zimmer on contributions from young players