We have a very interesting matchup on Monday Night between two teams heading in two different directions this season. The 5-1 49ers play their second straight back-to-back as the Vikings return home off their 2ndvictory of the season, against the Bears.
This is a game where I will put some stock into the situational spot. The 49ers played a tough game in Cleveland in Week 6, where they were not able to convert a game winning field goal, losing 19-17. The team returned to California, before they travel back out to the Midwest on Sunday to play Minnesota.
The Niners left Sunday’s game riddled with injuries and I’ve been closely monitoring the injury report to get a sense of who’s in and who’s out. Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel, LT Trent Williams, and LB Dre Greenlaw were all listed as DNP on Friday’s practice, although Greenlaw was seen doing some light drill work.
As of now, I think McCaffrey has a good chance to play Monday Night, given the positive news from his MRI and the team’s comments. However, I don’t think Deebo Samuel, and Trent Williams will be active Monday Night with their injuries listed as day-to-day and with less confidence out of the Niners camp regarding their availability.
Should McCaffrey end up missing the game as well the Niners will be extremely strapped at the skill positions and missing Brock Purdy’s most important pass protector.
The preseason line for this matchup was 49ers -2.5 at Minnesota, given the back-to-back road spot and the power ranking of these teams coming into the year. I have to say, despite how great San Fran has been in 2023, I’m surprised to see this line all the way out at -7. We knew that Minnesota’s 13-win season in 2022 was flukey but this feels like a massive overcorrection.
Per FTN, the Vikings rank 17th and 15th in offensive and defensive DVOA, respectively. Their inability to score against Chicago and Carolina was surprising to say the least, but they’ve made up for it against more difficult opponents, rounded them out to be about an average team.
Perhaps the ball bounced the right way for the Vikings in 2022 and has bounced the wrong way in 2023, leaving them with their 2-4 record. That being said, their baseline performance is higher than indicated by this line and I think laying 7 with the Niners on the road is too much here.
We did watch the Vikings offense struggle without Justin Jefferson in that Chicago game, but I think that has as much to do with conservative play call and unfortunate fumble timing.
I’m not saying this Vikings team will blow the Niners defense out of the water, but I’d expect them to be more competitive in a matchup where they’ll need to score points despite the Niners injuries on the offensive side of the ball.
This could be an ugly one on Monday Night, but I’m rolling with the Minnesota Vikings +7 for a 1% play.