The Vikings and 49ers will meet in the playoffs for the sixth time, and the first time since the 1997 divisional round, with the 49ers holding a 4-1 advantage. These teams have met 47 times including playoffs, with each team winning 23 games and one game ending in a tie.
The 13-3 San Francisco 49ers come into this game as the top seed in the NFC, fresh off a hard earned bye. The bye week can be tricky to navigate in the playoffs, with top seeds sometimes looking off in their first playoff game due to their in-season rhythm having been disrupted by the week off. After starting eight games in 2017 and 2018 combined, 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo started all 16 games for the 49ers this season, missing just seven total offensive snaps. Garoppolo had seven touchdowns and six interceptions in his first six games, but has 20 touchdowns and seven interceptions in his last 10 games. The 49ers have lost two of their last five home games, so a loss today at home might not be an impossible dream for the Vikings.
The 11-6 Minnesota Vikings come into this game fresh off an upset of the New Orleans Saints on the road in the wild card round. Minnesota won its first road playoff game since 2004 with their 26-20 overtime victory over New Orleans. Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins came up big in overtime against the Saints, quieting some of the persistent doubts about his ability to win the big game. Now Cousins and the Vikings face perhaps the best team in the NFC on the road, and Cousins will have to come up big again if the Vikings are to pull off another upset. Prior to the Vikings big road win last week, the Vikings had not beaten a winning team on the road all year.
It’s the 49ers and the Vikings to kick off perhaps the best weekend in the NFL season. Enjoy the game everybody.