Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#421 San Francisco 49ers vs.
#422 Minnesota Vikings
Saturday, August 20, 2022 at 7:00pm EDT
U.S. Bank Syadium, Minneapolis
Written by Ben the Pen

The San Francisco 49ers meet the Minnesota Vikings in Week 2 of the preseason.

The Vikings (0-1 SU, 0-1 ATS) fell at the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday, while the 49ers (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS) beat Green Bay 28-21 on Friday.

These teams also had joint practices during the week.

Time for Lance to shine

With Jimmy Garropolo expected to be traded or released, the 49ers are going to be Trey Lance's team. The second-year quarterback from North Dakota State had a dismal 58.4 passer rating in his first start last season, but had a 97.3 passer rating overall with a 57.7% completion percentage in just two starts.

Last week against Green Bay, Lance completed 4 of 5 passes for 92 yards and one TD in limited action. The touchdown came on a 76-yard pass to rookie Danny Gray (out of SMU).

“He did some good things for a first game,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said of Lance to the Associated Press. “I wish we could have kept him in more but we had to get him out.”

After all that, Shanahan was expected to play Lance in two of the preseason games. He won't play many, if any of the starters on Saturday and Lance will sit with Houston coming up in five days after the Minnesota game.

With Lance out, the 49ers will turn to Nate Sudfeld, who completed 8 of 11 for 103 yards with one TD against the Packers. Brock Purdy completed just 3 of 6, but did throw a late touchdown pass to Tanner Hudson in the fourth quarter.

The 49ers do want to run the ball and they finished with 116 yards on 32 attempts. Defensively, they allowed Jordan Love and the Packers to throw for 296 yards, but picked him off three times.

Cousins is back at practice

Kirk Cousins missed five days of practice and their preseason game with the Raiders after testing positive for COVID, though he probably wouldn't have played. With Cousins out last week, Sean Mannion  (8-12 for 79 yds) and Kellen Mond (9-14, 119yds, 2 TDs) were solid as backups in their loss last Sunday to the Raiders.  Defensively, the Vikes struggled against the run, allowing 140 yards rushing, but just 160 yards passing. They also had eight penalties for 71 yards.

The key for O'Connell is finding a No. 2 quarterback behind Cousins. Mond was able to move the team better in the second half than Mannion did in the first half.

“I thought Kellen, coming in — really, that fourth-down play got him going,” O’Connell said postgame on 247Sports.. “That's what we want to see him do. I have no doubt that both these guys (Mond and Sean Mannion) are going to continue to compete, but there's some critical plays in there that both those guys were able to make...."

O'Connell doesn't have to play Cousins or star running back Dalvin Cook (1,159yds last year). Like many teams, they are looking for depth and improvements in most places. Last season, they struggled defensively, allowing 384 yards per game to rank 30th in the league. That's despite recording 51 sacks, though, under a new 3-4 scheme, they should make improvements. The addition of former Green Bay OLB/DE Za'Darius Smith should help the defense get better.

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Full-Game Side Bet

Insiders Status:

Rating:

I expect Kyle Shanahan to play to win, even with most of his backups. He's 6-2 SU over his last 8 preseason games. O'Connell is from the Sean McVay school of taking out his starters in the preseason and not playing guys who have minor injuries. That doesn't mean that O'Connell doesn't want to win this but laying 4.5 is still a lot with backups against Nate Sudfeld, who played well last week and Brock Purdy. Good teams usually have good depth. Take the dog here.

Prediction: San Francisco 49ers +4.5

Full-Game Total Pick

Insiders Status:

Rating:

Both starting quarterbacks are not expected to play and you have Kellen Mond now going against No. 2s and possibly some ones. That's different than facing the Raiders' practice squad and other defenders who won't make the team last week. The Niners will want to tighten up defensively. Last year, they allowed just 39 total points in all three games. This is going to be a typical vanilla preseason game where two young coaches want to show very little.

Prediction: Under 39.5
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Written By Ben Hayes , "Ben the Pen"

Ben has been a sports writer for over 35 years, dabbling in college and pro basketball, college and pro football, baseball, college lacrosse, minor league baseball and even college gymnastics. He's also been involved in the gaming industry for nearly 30 years and has been looking to beat the books since he was 13! Ben has had great success in handicapping college football, the NFL, college basketball, the NBA and MLB for 27+ years. His Twitter handle is @BenHayesWAW