The Minnesota Vikings drew first blood after an excellent 16 play, 82 yard opening drive.
Vikings coach Leslie Frazier understands how difficult it is to score on this Niners defense, and took a chance in the opening drive with a gutsy fourth down conversion in the red zone.
After two consecutive run stuffs, the Vikings decided to put the ball in the hands of quarterback Christian Ponder, and it proved successful.
Ponder found tight end Kyle Rudolph, who was essential in moving the chains during this opening drive, for a one-yard touchdown.
As expected, the Vikings are attacking this 49ers defense with short to immediate throws. Ponder, who leads the league in completion percentage, again was sharp in the first half after completing 14 of his first 22 pass attempts.
Ponder’s mobility has also been a factor after an excellent 23-yard scramble for a score.
Alex Smith and the San Francisco 49ers offense started slow out of the gate, and has not recovered.
While Smith completed eight of his first twelve pass attempts, he was far from sharp. Smith missed several receivers, including a potential touchdown to Randy Moss.
What’s even more surprising is how the 49ers have not utilized Frank Gore and their running game. Frank Gore touched the ball four times in the first half, and is the only 49ers running back with a recorded carry.
This is partly the 49ers fault, and the Vikings excellent play in the first half. The 49ers are falling in love with a passing attack that has resulted in only three points, brought on by a 29-yard field goal from David Akers.
The Vikings offense is doing an excellent job in controlling the clock, which is surprising considering the struggles of their running game. Peterson has 14 carries for a measly 29-yards rushing.
As the second half approaches, expect both teams to adjust. The 49ers are uncharacteristically hurting themselves with a few penalties, and the obvious Akers blocked kick towards the end of the half.
The Vikings understand that the 49ers will come out more motivated in the second half after a sub-par start.
Vikings lead the 49ers at the half, 17-3.