PASSING OFFENSE: B-minus — After attempting 48 passes in his first two games, Brett Favre aired it out 46 times in the Vikings' victory over San Francisco. He completed 24 passes, including a 32-yarder for a touchdown to Greg Lewis in the back of the end zone with two seconds left for the victory. That heroic moment overshadowed the fact that Favre's 52.2 completion percentage and 78.3 passer rating were his worst in his three games as a Viking. Favre also threw his first interception of the season and could have been picked off a couple of other times. Berrian caught four passes for 56 passes but was thrown at nine times and dropped at least two balls. As has become the case this season, Favre was pressured on a consistent basis and while he was sacked twice he took several hits. Favre is going to need better protection from his line if he wants to stay healthy for the entire season.
RUSHING OFFENSE: B-minus — Two years ago, Pro Bowl running back Adrian Peterson was held to a career-low 3 yards on 14 carries by the 49ers. San Francisco did not have as much luck Sunday, but its defense still did an excellent job against Peterson. He rushed for 85 yards on 19 carries, a 4.yard average, with no touchdowns. However, take away a 35-yard first-quarter run and Peterson had 50 yards on 18 carries, a 2.8 average. Peterson has now been held to fewer than 100 yards in the past two games. Sunday, marked the first time he did not have a touchdown after he scored four in the first two weeks. Chester Taylor had 16 yards on six carries but still remains the Vikings' main third-down running back. Taylor leads the Vikings with 15 receptions after catching seven of the eight balls thrown to him for 70 yards against the 49ers.
PASS DEFENSE: B — The Vikings defense did a nice job against the 49ers wide receivers, but tight end Vernon Davis gave them major problems. Davis caught seven of the 10 passes thrown his way for 96 yards (a 13.7 average) and two touchdowns. It appeared the 49ers were able to use the fact the Vikings' Cover-2 leaves room for tight ends to make plays. This also was the case last year. Quarterback Shaun Hill completed 15 of 25 passes for 195 yards with two touchdowns, a sack and an interception. Cornerback Cedric Griffin got his second pick of the season when Hill made a poor pass. Defensive end Jared Allen got the only sack on Hill — that came on the first play from scrimmage — and the Vikings had five quarterback hurries. Four of those came from left end Ray Edwards.
RUSH DEFENSE: B — Ranked a surprising 15th in the NFL entering the game, the Vikings rebounded to hold the 49ers to 58 yards on 26 rushing attempts. That was easily the Vikings' season low after giving up 218 yards on the ground in the first two games. It didn't hurt matters for the Vikings that 49ers running back Frank Gore was lost on San Francisco's first series when he aggravated a sprained ankle. Gore did not return and rookie Glen Coffee rushed for 54 yards on 25 carries, a 2.2 average. Coffee's longest run went for only 13 yards. Vikings Pro Bowl defensive tackles Kevin and Pat Williams combined for nine tackles and Kevin Williams came up with several big plays late to help the Vikings get the ball back for their final drive.
SPECIAL TEAMS: B-minus — This grade should be higher given that rookie wide receiver Percy Harvin returned a kickoff 101 yards to give the Vikings a 20-17 lead in the third quarter. However, the grade suffers because the 49ers were able to return a blocked field-goal attempt by Ryan Longwell 59 yards for a touchdown to end the first half. On the play, Ray McDonald got past Steve Hutchinson and Phil Loadholt was unable to slide over and help, enabling McDonald to block Longwell's kick. The ball bounced on the turf and Nate Clements picked up the ball and raced to the end zone. It marked the second time in two seasons a blocked field goal attempt had been returned for a touchdown against the Vikings. The Vikings also might have suffered a tough loss when punt returner Darius Reynaud appeared to injure his hamstring. He was replaced by Bernard Berrian, who because of the extensive playing time he sees on offense probably isn't the ideal candidate to return punts on a consistent basis.
COACHING: B — Give Brad Childress and Co. credit. While many found it odd that the Vikings allowed Brett Favre to string them along all offseason about whether he would return, the reason why they were willing to be patient became clear when Favre hit Greg Lewis with the winning touchdown pass with two seconds left. Childress also was questioned as to why he let go of wide receiver Bobby Wade just before the season and signed Lewis, but Lewis came up with a huge catch on the pass from Favre. There still remains plenty for the Vikings to clean up, considering they dominated the 49ers statistically yet nearly lost the game.
Grading the game: 49ers
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