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Before the start of the 2023 NFL Season, the Monday Night Football matchup for weeks seven looked to be one of the best matchups of the week. Throughout the season, the matchup between the San Francisco 49ers (5-1) at the Minnesota Vikings (2-4) had been watered down.
The 49ers have started the season on a 5-0 run, but are coming off a 19-17 road loss to the Cleveland Browns. In the matchup of highly efficient defenses, it was the Browns' offense that found ways to win.
The Vikings are one of the most disappointing teams in the league this season. Minnesota started off with losing their first three games of the season. They've been able to win two of their last three games against two of the worst teams in the league on the road against the Carolina Panthers and at the Chicago Bears.
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The offense of the 49ers looked like a well-oiled machine as quarterback Brody Purdy found ways to get the ball to three of his speedy and dynamic playmakers. Last week, wide receiver Deebo Samuel, running back Christian McCaffrey and star left tackle Trent Williams all went down with injuries, leaving the offense exposed. With Samuel out, Williams doubtful and Caffrey questionable for Monday night, the 49ers might have to stretch Purdy's potential and passing abilities a bit.
The Vikings' defense hasn't been able to stop a lot of efficient offenses this season. Outside of star pass rusher Danielle Hunter and new starting cornerback Byron Murphy, the Vikings haven't gotten much productive and big plays from their defense. They rank among the bottom half of the league in all major defensive categories.
This Vikings' offense had the potential to be one of the most productive units in the league this season. Running back Alexander Mattison has been disappointing and the offensive line has limited the potential of an elite passing offense. Now star wide receiver Justin Jefferson is on IR, leaving rookie wide receiver Jordan Addison, tight end T.J. Hockenson and wide receiver K.J. Osborn to pick up the productivity.
The 49ers' defense remains one of the top defenses in the league due to the incredible talent throughout the field. San Francisco ranks second in the league in points allowed per game (14.5), third in total yards allowed per game (278) and third in rushing yards allowed per game (80.2). While they aren't as elite in the secondary, they are still capable of playing at a high level and making huge stops in the short-to-mid-range passing game.
The 49ers are expected to go through a series of losses with key players like Deebo Samuel and Trent Williams. While Christian McCaffrey is questionable, his impact could be incredibly limited. The 49ers could see what Purdy possesses as a pocket passer instead of a game-manager without his key weapons and protection.
This bet is incredibly risky, but also very likely and beneficial. The Vikings don't have a single rushing touchdown as all of their offensive scores have come from the arm of quarterback Kirk Cousins. While the 49ers' defense is elite, they've offenses to single-digit scores only once this season.
The Vikings' pass rush could be in for a special performance against the highly offense of the 49ers. With Trent Williams listed as doubtful, it might open up room for Danielle Hunter, who has eight sacks this season, to account for a big game.
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Michael Hanich is a sports journalist/analyst with a wide variety of experience in the newspaper and digital field. He has a love for all sports. The leagues that he covers are College Football, the NFL, the NBA, the NHL, College Basketball (men’s and women’s), the MLB, Lacrosse, Volleyball, and the WNBA.More info on Michael Hanich
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