2 Matchups To Watch On Sunday

Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 26, 2009 – 10:06 am

Vikings Rush D vs. RB Frank Gore

Gore is coming off a monster game last week against Seattle. He carried the ball 16 times for 207 yards and 2 TDs, including runs of 80 and 79 yards. Gore may be just 5-9, but he weighs in at 217 pounds, giving him the strength to run between the tackles. And as the 79- and 80-yard TD runs indicate, Gore can also break a big one score from anywhere on the field. When Gore rushes for 100 yards, the 49ers have a 12-4 record.

The Vikings, meanwhile, haven’t allowed a 100-yard rusher in 25 games, and they’re chomping at the bit to play at home after starting the season with 2 straight road games. Leslie Frazier’s unit has faced questions after the past 2 games about their run defense. Although there hasn’t been a 100-yard rusher, Frazier said on Thursday that they must clean up a few mistakes and maintain their gap integrity if they are to stop Gore.

Vikings Offense vs. Patrick Willis

Willis is turning into one of the best LBs in the entire league. He’s in just his 3rd year, but he’s been a Pro Bowler after his first 2 seasons and he is off to a solid start in 2009. Against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 1, Willis had 14 tackles and led the 49ers to an upset win over the defending NFC champs. The challenge for the Vikings defense, beyond actually blocking Willis or completely avoiding him, will be to find him and figure out where he’s going. The 49ers play the 3-4 defense and will try to disguise their plans during pre-snap reads.

Offensively for the Vikings, they are going to want to stick to their bread and butter – the rushing attack. But Willis can be a major disrupting force. Vikings blockers must be able to release from the 1st level and get to the 2nd level to put a hat on Willis before he’s able to stop the ground game.

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